Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Life in the Islands, May 16-July 7 2009

- Day 37 and no hurricanes yet
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Tue, 7 Jul 2009 09:13:47 EDT
Dear Miss Mermaid is back on island and has repossessed the laptop computer from the kitties, who were merrily playing games and watching silly cat videos, learning new tricks. They also seemed to have gained a lot of weight in my absence, no doubt pestering their caretaker to overfeed them!

I was loudly greeted, and one cat sat down and talked nearly an hour straight, telling me everything they did searching for me. My bed was full of cats and purring and it felt wonderful to be back in my lair.

Even today, as I type, I have a cat at my feet and one on the desk and one sleeping close by. I feel so flattered!

As for the weather, well yesterday was gloomy and rainy, but today, while overcast, promises to be sunny later on. The temperature at sea level, seems to be stuck at 84 degrees. The Sahara dust is still lingering. No storms on the horizon. We do have a tropical wave to the west and to the east, but nothing much to report on either one as a threat to us.


I wish Richard Reid was never born. He is the idiot who tried to fly with a bomb in his shoe over 8 years ago. Since then, anyone who flies, must have their shoes removed and inspected for possible bombs. The floors are filthy and parading around barefoot on the crappy carpet, made me wonder what diseases, parasites or fungi I might pick up. Indeed, I was ill for much of my trip, sad to say and even now, still feel terribly weak.

Flying as a mermaid is a terrible hardship, I was constantly singled out for intensive searching. Those security guards sure do like to pat me down, and it's very frustrating and humiliating. I can't imagine what I do wrong to trigger this every time I fly!

Yes, I was searched and briefly accused of carrying a bomb into a US Embassy in Barbados 29 years ago, but was found immediately innocent. I was allowed in the Embassy without being searched because I was considered an honored guest at the time and was expected and on a special list. I had arrived at the appointed time, after shopping around town and was carrying several bags. I was to have lunch with some dignitaries. I was admitted, and no one searched me or checked my bags. I had just sat down in the office of my friend, pleased that I had found the place on my own after walking all over town.

Unknown to me, shortly after I entered, the Embassy received a bomb threat, so suddenly a platoon of armed Marines appeared, began ripping up my shopping bags and contents, plus thoroughly dissecting my purse and contents, as well as intensively searching my body. Lunch was canceled and I was escorted out of the Embassy, in spite of my innocence. Later, my friends apologized profusely and explained it was all a matter of security. I laughed it off at the time. But I wonder if that terrible incident is noted somewhere, in spite of my guiltlessness.

Before this trip I read the latest TSA rules but each airport seems to interpret them differently. I was yelled at, for not knowing the latest and greatest rules and regs of that particular airport. I tried to smile and shake it off.

I rented a car for a few days, when my friend's car broke down, I was just trying to help out. I had NO idea the nationally franchised car rental agency would give me a car with out-of-date paper tags. I was pulled over by two cop cars, with loud sirens and numerous blue lights, guns drawn and quite honestly, it freaked me out! I had NO idea what I had done wrong. The cop screamed in my face "DO YOU KNOW WHY I PULLED YOU OVER?" and I was terrified speechless. He yelled at me to produce my license and registration. I produced the license, but the car rental papers were tossed in the back seat and I couldn't reach them. Finally he let me out of the car to retrieve them and then he told me to park the car and tell the rental company to come get it. They put away their guns and drove off, leaving a shaken mermaid behind with no cell phone to call the rental car agency.

Do you know how HARD it is to find a pay phone these days? I ended up booking a motel room around the corner, just so I could make phone calls and remain off the roads. It took the car agency over 9 hours to sort out the problem and get me into a car that had legal tags at 1:30am. They failed to understand why I felt so inconvenienced.

Well, I had friends to stay with for free, so booking a pricey motel that happened to be in the neighborhood of where I was pulled over, was not in my agenda, nor was the terrifying way the cops treated me. While the car rental agency has no control over the rude cops, they do have control over their cars and it seems to me, they shouldn't be renting out cars with old tags. In my case, paper tags that had a date written in large ink, clearly stating the tags had expired a month ago.

Since I had tossed my meager luggage in the backseat and not the trunk, I never thought to notice the tags. I only had 2 outfits with me, as I was hoping to catch some bargain sales on clothes and return home with a full suitcase.

This was just one of the craziest trips I have ever taken. I did manage to sneak in some fun, do a tad bit of shopping and see old friends and attend for a few days, an annual private event, that I helped start, back in the dark ages. It is still held every year, in the mountains by the river, by invitation only, and the once weekend only event has expanded to a week long affair of rustic camping, partying, swimming, hiking, cooking out, and general cavorting. Once a day someone has to make the ten mile trip to fetch more ice to keep the coolers of food happy. At night, weather permitting, a bon fire and fireworks are set off.

One year, ages ago, I stayed up late, yacking with a friend by the river side, away from the sleeping campers. We returned to the campsite where we were sharing a tent, when we felt a lump in the bedding. It was a 200 or 500 pack of fire crackers (I forget which, but it was ALOT!) and it was about 2 or 3am. All the other campers were sleeping soundly or snoring loudly. Everyone was under the impression that all fireworks had been used up evening. This was before anyone had produced babies and children, so it was an all adult party with a few pets thrown in the mix.

My friend and I, feeling very foolish and quite naughty, tossed the fire crackers into the dying embers of the fire, then hid back inside our tent. Suddenly the flame shot up about 30-40 feet in the air and the hundreds of firecrackers went off in loud rapid succession. We laughed ourselves silly as naked campers exited their tents in great haste, running around in circles, unsure what to do, one had the presence of mind to fetch a bucket of water from the river, while others ran for cover in the forest. When the guy with the bucket of water returned, the firecrackers were already exhausted.

The next morning, we pretended to have slept through the entire noisy event and acted like our friends were crazy to make up such a story.


It's a miracle I made it back home this week but , I did manage to sneak back into the BVI (shhhhhhhhhh) with my coveted Yellow Grits and Vidalia Onions. Vidalia onions are the sweetest onions you will ever find, they are not hot nor sharp. They are soft and shaped like a mashed globe. Indeed, they are the best raw onion to be had. They can only be grown in the special soil and methods in and around Vidalia Georgia and are protected under numerous laws against would be forgers.

Every year their entire production is sold out, you can place orders for 2010 onions, but you are unlikely to get any 2009 Vidalia onions except at some of the super markets who previously contracted to buy them. Even so, the further you live from Vidalia, the harder they are to obtain.

If you ever see Vidalia Salad Dressing or Vidalia Relish, grab it, for a tasty treat you won't soon forget.

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- Happy 4th of July~and Happy Territory Day!
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Tue, 7 Jul 2009 06:17:32 EDT
Three tropical waves, none are a threat to the BVI, each in a different location doing it's own thing (kind of like herding cats!)

Sahara dust has made skies grayish blue and hazy.

Message Found In A Bottle On the Seashore:
Dear Kitties, swimming my way back home, love Dear Miss Mermaid from land of waterfalls.
Click for full size waterfall.

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- Fried Day and I got dat internet to work finally!
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Fri, 3 Jul 2009 20:50:13 EDT
A tropical wave is north east of the BVI and no threat at all at this time. So far this is a boring hurricane season. Temperature at 84 F, and not much else to report except the Mermaid is still running amok, but rumors abound she is closing in on the island and may actually swim back up any day now.

My wittle paws couldn't get the internet to work for awhile, if you think Dear Miss Mermaid is techno challenged... well she learned it from me, the cat!

Another tropical wave is passing well south of us. So far so good!

While I was out searching for dat Mermaid, I found this Message in a Bottle that rolled up on the Seashore this morning:
For a spectacular view of the dust headed your way check out http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=39154Better put some masks on Kitties.
*Cough, cough, cough* the Sahara arrived and the sunsets are spectacular!Thanks for the wonderful link!

Don't forget to buy the book, so Dear Miss Mermaid will stop running off and stick around writing more. Besides, we miss her!

I sent my kitty brother out to get a job playing piano at the local pub, so we could earn some tuna, but he was fired for sleeping on the job...

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- Day 32 of Hurricane Season
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Thu, 2 Jul 2009 11:21:49 EDT
All clear in the islands, still no sign of dat Mermaid! No hurricanes, himmacanes or purr-icanes on the horizon or the fur-izon.

84 degrees and *cough-cough-cough* dat Sahara dust still bothering us though the sunsets are spectacular!

Dat Mermaid been missing for a week now, we need her back, if you spot her, send her home to her kitties!

A couple of tropical waves are rolling along, but no threat to us yet.

Don't forget to buy Dear Miss Mermaid's Book (proceeds feed the kitty!) Rumor is Dear Miss Mermaid ran off to go work somewhere, but I don't think so, why would she leave us wittle cute kitties behind?

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- A Purr-Fect day fur lazing about...
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Wed, 1 Jul 2009 11:53:26 EDT
Two tropical waves rolling off Africa, something to watch and keep us entertained. 84 degrees. Winds are nice around 10mph.

Today's Quote:
"Of all God's creatures there is only one that cannot be made the slave of the leash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat."
Mark Twain

Since Dear Miss Mermaid left, I've had to get a job as a cocktail lounge singer, to pay for my tuna melts I charged up at the restaurant. Send that mermaid back to me! Work is for humans and mermaids...

Warm & Furry Regards,
Paws for the Cause

- Day 30 of hurricane season
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 2009 11:04:27 EDT
Dear Miss Mermaid is still MIA, so it's left up to the paws for the cause, to write a report wiff our wittle paws. It's great weather for hunting rats and mice, though that may not be much help for you two legged folks who tend to hunt inside buildings and bring your bounty home wrapped up neatly...

It's 84 degrees with no storms and no purr-icanes on the fur-rizon. Today the Soggy Dollar webcam shows it as a purr-fect day to be at the beach or on the water.

If you see dat mermaid, send her home with some kibble for me! All this typing wears me out!

- Sun Daze
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Sun, 28 Jun 2009 11:31:15 EDT
Meow-velous weather. Great for hunting rodents. No purr-icanes on the fur-izon. (Bet you would never guess a cat's wittle paws wrote this!)

Time for one of my 17 naps today. Later, folks!

Ps-Send dat mermaid home, I miss her butler services.

Manchineel Bay, Cooper Island, BVI
click for large picture

"Cats are the ultimate narcissists. You can tell this because of all the time they spend on personal grooming. Dogs aren't like this. A dog's idea of personal grooming is to roll on a dead fish." -- James Gorman
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- Saturday #27 of hurricane season
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Sat, 27 Jun 2009 10:19:41 EDT
Paws for the cause... Dear Miss Mermaid can't be found, so me the cat, has to write today's report again wiff my wittle paws.

The thing on the wall reads 84 degrees, the Sahara dust is thick! *cough* cough* cough*.

I was out scrounging for fresh tuna or fresh mouse and found a few bottles on the sea shore, with notes inside:

Howdy Miss Mermaid,Spending a week above Brewers Bay, and have experienced Sahara Sands before, but this is much worse. Can barely see Jost. Please give your local input in todays update on the hurricane page. Thanks.Tom Va USA

See the satellite pic of the Sahara dust, we got it really thick right now with plenty more on the way.

Maybe the anchors are dragging and Jost is dragging out to sea... so it's hard to see right now. I guess we better get some tug boats and tow dat island back where it belongs.

Next message:
Subject: Sirens in the islands?
Dear Miss Mermaid,Our son called this afternoon a little after 1 PM and said the sirens were going off. He could hear them at his place on Luck Hill. Do you know what that was about? It was the first time in his 5 years down there he has experienced that.Thanks for your reports and for making us feel closer to what's going on in paradise!Kindest Regards,Muzette from Atlanta

Dear Muzette,
I love your name! Can I have it? When the old mermaid comes home, I tell her I renamed myself. That will teach her to run off...
OK, those pesky sirens were set off to try to find the mermaid. We are hoping she heard them and is able to home in on them and find her way back. After all, it's been three days since my last belly rub, I don't know if I can continue to live like this!
It was a good time to test the sirens too. When you hear the sirens, you are supposed to tune into the local ZROD radio station at 103.7 FM for further instructions. Could be the mermaid is missing, could be a tsunami is on the way, could be a hurricane alert, could be they are just testing the sirens to see if they work.

Go to ReservationsBVI.com and scroll down to R and then Radio and you will see two links. One for radio stations you can pick up in the BVI and another link for radio stations you can listen to on the internet.

Check out the view from the Anegada Web Cam! I check the webcams all day looking for dat mermaid. If you see her, tell her come home and rub my belly and bring tuna too! THANKS!
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- Fried Daze
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2009 12:52:21 EDT
Dat mermaid has gone on walk about (or swim about) and left us cats to cover for her. You could say we are Paws for the cause! Since the other mouse catchers are snoozing, it's left for me to report the weather.

The good news is there are no purr-icanes on the fur-izon. Sun is out, sky is blue and all is well. Dat t'ing on the wall says 84 F.

Tropical waves abound, but nothing on top of us yet much. Check out this beach webcam at Norman Island to see how wonderful the weather is.

I found a picture of the beach at Foxys laying around. Is dat where this mermaid ran off to? Tell her to come home and fill up my feed bowl, please.

Foxy's Beach, Jost Van Dyke (see larger image)

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- Famous Foxy
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Thu, 25 Jun 2009 07:21:22 EDT
82 degrees at 645am with tradewinds and clear skies, the blue sky is much larger than the small patches of cloud cover. So this is all grand. While there are several tropical waves, none are affecting us at this time.

I've injured my arm, and typing is really painful. My reports may be super short for a few days. Two days ago, I woke up in extreme pain and it keeps getting worse. No idea what happened to it. Maybe mermaids belong back in the sea.

I wish I could have been there!
Foxy Honored at the House of Lords in LondonPlatinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin IslandsThis dinner was attended by Foxy's wife and three children together with a small group of his friends from the BVI and around the world. ...

In the photo with the article above, Foxys feet are NOT shown. I wonder if this is because he is characteristically barefoot! He is donning new clothes, no doubt anyone going to see the Queen would don a new outfit! From the first time I met Foxy, I had no doubt that one day he would meet the powers to be and now he's met the Queen of England!

Before Foxy ran off to England, I stopped by to see him. (Yes, he is barefoot in this photo. ) I said, "Foxy, I've only known you about 29 years, and I am embarrassed to say, I don't have a single picture of you!" So now I do.

That's me standing next to him, (but we all know real mermaids can't be photographed!)

Famous Foxy with my Book!
Click for large image

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- Day 24 of hurricane season in the Virgin Islands
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Wed, 24 Jun 2009 10:55:23 EDT
A tropical waves runs from the Virgin Islands to Venezuela, it's not really affecting us much at this time except for some choppy seas. Behind it is another wave southeast of us. I guess storm season is slowly waking up. The tradewinds are out in full force and it's 84 degrees at sea level and about 10 degrees cooler in the mountains.
Jost Van Dyke and Sandy Spit
Click to enlarge

Another boater perished in the BVI Tuesday night. This is especially sad as a $10 safety engine kill switch lanyard might have prevented this accident. It's on a curly lanyard like an old telephone cord, and you plug it into the kill switch of the outboard and the other end you can clip around your wrist or to your belt loop on your boat shorts. Should you fall overboard, or move too far from the tiller, the lanyard yanks off the engine, the kill switch pops in and the engine dies instantly, all this in a nanosecond. In this case it says the victim "moved to another part of the boat" sounds like he left go of the tiller and the engine spun to the side, making the boat go in circles. As soon as he stepped away, the engine would have died (if he had the lanyard attached). All boaters should own this useful safety equipment, but sadly, many don't.
Boating Accident Leaves One Dead
Very sad.

HiHo windsurfing event in Totola celebrates 25th anniversaryBYM News (press release) - Gibraltar,SpainAlong the way it covers and stops at Anegada, Virgin Gorda, Peter Island, Norman Island, Jost Van Dyke and Little Thatch, and features world class sailing ...

Living on Tortola, Cane Garden Bay, a fun blog by a "newbie" to the islands

Click here: Still Crazy after all these Years Tony Snell on Life Love and Living in the BVI
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- Day 24 of hurricane season in the Virgin Islands
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Wed, 24 Jun 2009 10:53:18 EDT
A tropical waves runs from the Virgin Islands to Venezuela, it's not really affecting us much at this time except for some choppy seas. Behind it is another wave southeast of us. I guess storm season is slowly waking up. The tradewinds are out in full force and it's 84 degrees at sea level and about 10 degrees cooler in the mountains.
Jost Van Dyke and Sandy Spit
Click to enlarge

Another boater perished in the BVI Tuesday night. This is especially sad as a $10 safety engine kill switch lanyard might have prevented this accident. It's on a curly lanyard like an old telephone cord, and you plug it into the kill switch of the outboard and the other end you can clip around your wrist or to your belt loop on your boat shorts. Should you fall overboard, or move too far from the tiller, the lanyard yanks off the engine, the kill switch pops in and the engine dies instantly, all this in a nanosecond. In this case it says the victim "moved to another part of the boat" sounds like he left go of the tiller and the engine spun to the side, making the boat go in circles. As soon as he stepped away, the engine would have died (if he had the lanyard attached). All boaters should own this useful safety equipment, but sadly, many don't.
Boating Accident Leaves One Dead
Very sad.

HiHo windsurfing event in Totola celebrates 25th anniversaryBYM News (press release) - Gibraltar,SpainAlong the way it covers and stops at Anegada, Virgin Gorda, Peter Island, Norman Island, Jost Van Dyke and Little Thatch, and features world class sailing ...

Living on Tortola, Cane Garden Bay, a fun blog by a "newbie" to the islands

Click here: Still Crazy after all these Years Tony Snell on Life Love and Living in the BVI
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- Secrets of the Seas
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Tue, 23 Jun 2009 09:31:35 EDT
Blue skies, brisk tradewinds, 84 degrees, 2 days past summer solstice, and the weather is just typical gorgeous Caribbean weather, the type dreams and vacations are made of. Waters are clear, boats are out and it's just a fine day to be alive, all around.

Day 23 of the hurricane season, and so far we are getting off without a licking.


Heartfelt Prayers to those Lost at Sea and the families left behind wondering what secrets the sea has swallowed.

Yacht found adrift off the Azores with no sign of its two-man crew:
Discovery deepens mystery about fate of crew, two French sailing enthusiasts.

Yacht L'Actuel's headsail was partly furled and torn and the main was still up and reefed. There were lines trailing in the water and the satellite phone and safety gear was all still on board. Inside, items had shifted to one side, suggesting a possible capsize.

Complicating the search was the fact that L'Actuel did not carry a satellite rescue beacon as required by law.

This is also known as EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon). Even if they had one onboard, it had to be activated to send out a signal. Many will turn themselves on if tossed upside down, or submerged in water.
Sailing harnesses from $29 can save a life, if you remember to tie or tether yourself to the boat. When I bought my hurricane ravaged boat, it came with six safety harnesses and tethers. At some point in the past, someone had obviously outfitted the boat for serious offshore cruising.

While I didn't always wear my harness or tether to the boat, there were many times, especially when alone on board, I certainly did. The thought of being accidentally knocked overboard and watching my boat sail away without me, was more than a tad frightening to contemplate.

I remember one weekend, another lone sailing lady and I found ourselves stuck in Jost Van Dyke, after a long weekend of carefree partying. She had a 28 foot boat and I a 30 footer. The weather had turned dreadful and we both needed to be back on Tortola for work. I decided to wait out the stormy conditions and convinced my friend to wait another day too. The next day, the stormy conditions had somewhat subsided but the seas were terribly rough. We left port, bright and early, at the same time in our boats, thinking we would sail in tandem, but we quickly ended up far apart, barely able to make out the other one, even with binoculars.

Every time I felt scared (like every 2 minutes...) I would look at her boat in the distance and think how fearless she was and how wimpy I was. Tortola appeared so elusive, the more I pounded around the seas, the less it seemed to be getting any closer.

I had chose to motor-sail and she had turned her engine off. I wore a harness and tethered myself to the steering pedestal and she did likewise, only she had a tiller, and cleated a line to a spare cleat and back to her harness. We had discussed our safety methods over coffee in my cockpit that morning. I wanted to wait another day, she was ready to tackle the sail, claiming she'd been in much worse. Well, I have too, but that didn't make the trip seem any more inviting. I've been plucked out of the Pacific ocean, clinging to the dismasted wreckage of an overturned catamaran. It's certainly nothing I ever want to repeat.

What would have normally been a 60-90 minute sail, tuned into about three hours or more of slogging and pounding. Imagine riding a roller coaster to nowhere, while buckets of cold sea water are thrown in your face every few seconds. We finally made it to Sopers Hole, both of us drenched to the bone, our cockpits repeatedly awash in salty seas, both of us bouncing around, high on adrenalin.

Any landing you can walk away from, is a safe landing... My fearless pilot friend used to quote this all the time, when things got hairy.

We furiously waved at each other, as we anchored up near the Sand spit, about 30 minutes apart in arrival times. We were both glad to be back alive. I showered below then went topside to hang up my salt infused clothing, just as she was doing the same thing. While the clothing is now long gone, I still have the heavy duty storm jacket I wore that day. It still comes in handy for storms and hurricanes, even on land.

I often think angels follow me around and keep me out of trouble most days. For this I am eternally grateful.

Speaking of being lost...
New Charts of the Virgin Islands are available. 25641--Virgin Islands - Virgin Gorda to St. Thomas and St. Croix
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- the tree froggie are a singing tonight
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Tue, 23 Jun 2009 00:24:33 EDT
Dark-thirty and dry. Didn't get a drop of rain all day! Gorgeous day planned for tomorrow, according to my crystal ball.

For those of you that were following the missing yacht, I mentioned the other day, "L'Actuel" it has been FOUND, but without the crew. A new mystery...

Missing French yacht found intact, but empty, in middle of AtlanticThe Canadian Press - HALIFAX, N.S.A spokeswoman for the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax says a Belgian yacht spotted the 10-metre L'Actuel on Sunday, but nobody was on board. ...

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- First Storm of the Season is Named
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Mon, 22 Jun 2009 14:03:59 EDT
First storm of the season is named Andres and it's in the Pacific headed for Mexico and absolutely no threat to us at all. Good news for us, bad news for them.

Today is picture postcard perfect! Fantadstic weather, nothing bad on the horizon, we might even make it a whole month with nothing happening (or being named) in the Atlantic or the Caribbean seas.

Now wouldn't that be nice! Air fares are pretty reasonable to fly in to St Thomas then hop on a ferry over here (well you can sit down, you don't have to hop up and down) and vacation in the BVI while it's not crowded at all. Plenty of restaurants open and the BVI beaches are always open, every day, no matter what.

The seas are so clear right now it's a great time to go snorkeling with CaptainRoyBVI.com.
Postcard from the British Virgin Islands
(click to enlarge)

Here's Another Fun Tale...
Tales of St. John & the Caribbean: The Queen's Panties St. John LifeBy gerald Let me start with the day before the Queen came to Roadtown, Tortola. There were four of us. We were called “Water Rats.” There were two police officers that were assigned to the waterfront area. One of the officers called out to us ...

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- Sun Daze, Father's Daze!
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Sun, 21 Jun 2009 10:25:56 EDT
82 degrees and loads of blue sky and less clouds at 930am. Nothing untoward on the horizon, which is so clear that St John stands out as an emerald isle against the baby boy blue sky and deep navy waters in the Sir Francis Drake Channel. We are darn lucky so far!

What a lovely day for a Sunday and for Father's Day! Happy father's day to all of you males with offspring! (And especially those of twins!)

No doom and gloom yet. Just lazy days in the BVI and cheap airfares for those willing to make the trek down to our peace in paradise!

Someone in Puerto Ricom invited me up and mentioned to me that Puerto Ricans on holiday tended to have loud parties and I might not like it. Well, we get our fair share of Puerto Rican boaters on holiday in the BVI, so I am not totally clueless to their loud partying ways. Indeed, I've been known to join in on the merry making!

Puerto Ricans tend to come over to the BVI in groups of dozens of boats, often overloaded with people, booze, food, children and water toys. The smart flotilla formation is so they can help each other out if someone breaks down or runs out of fuel (or rum) along the way. On the horizon, they very often appear to be lined up perfectly, about ten feet apart at identical speed, with large white wakes following them, hence our nickname for them: "the Puerto Rican Navy" as it looks like an invasion on the horizon.

I remember one holiday weekend being upstairs at the old West End clearance building, and having to wait outside on the balcony. I said "Here comes the Puerto Rican Navy!" and suddenly everyone was out on the balcony, including the immigration and custom officials as we all watched more and more boats approach in an ever widening line of vessels across the horizon.

One week I sailed over to Cane Garden Bay alone on my sailboat and anchored in front of Quito's Gazebo, before he built his dock. I only drew 4.5 feet, so I could anchor in shallow water and typically not have close neighbors.

But then the PR Navy showed up and set up about 20-30 feet away, anchoring stern towards the beach, placing anchors fore and aft. Then they began rafting up other PR boats, no doubt their friends and relatives. They had maybe a dozen or more boats rafted up together, all power boats with aft cockpits for entertaining or fishing offshore.

My outboard was recently prone to overheating because the water line was clogged for the water-cooled exhaust. I hauled the outboard aboard the sailboat and discovered I had nothing to clean the tiny outlet with. (It was later fixed under a shade tree at Jost, another story, another day). I mounted it off the stern rail of my sailboat and figured rowing my mail-order rubber dinghy wouldn't be a problem, since I was so close to shore anyhow. (My dinghy had arrived months ago, in two heavy boxes at the Post Office and I assembled it on the beach, another tale in itself!)

Ah, but the PR men are a noble lot and they were not about to let a lone female row ashore under her own steam. So soon as I set out to go ashore, a PR dinghy was dispatched from one of the few boats that had brought one with them. The men insisted they tow me ashore and absolutely refused the idea that I could do it on my own, or that they would allow such a thing.

I thanked them profusely, and they heartily put my dinghy on the beach as was the custom then, before the dock. They told me to wave when I was ready to come back out and they would come get me. I thanked them again, knowing I wouldn't bother them, though it indeed was a kind gesture.

In the background, I could see the women on the PR powerboats, firing up grills and digging around coolers, while others lounged about drinking. Music blared from one of the boats, and people happily climbed from boat to boat and enthusiastically greeted each other, all seemingly talking at once in rapid Spanish. The abundant children were carousing around, the water and beach, shrieking in glee, as children from anywhere, often do around water.

I walked to the main road and deposited my small bag of garbage from the boat. I checked out the then, very meager, food store and discovered I was having crackers and peanut butter for dinner or else face dining out alone. I checked another shop, and found a beautiful sarong and decided I'd rather don that than dine out alone. I bought the sarong, and decided the Peanut Butter on crackers, for dinner would do just fine.

I figured I would go home to my boat, shower, change, eat my crackers and peanut butter, and maybe come back later, to dance on shore, to the lively sounds of Quito's Band.

For good measure I had dug my anchor into the sandy beach, so that high tide wouldn't send my boat tender out to sea without me. I placed my shopping in the dinghy, then gathered up my anchor as I heard this loud shrill whistle and rapid male Spanish near me.

Suddenly a Puerto Rican man was grabbing my deflatable and telling me to get in, he would push me out and his brother would tow me home to my sailboat. I was a tad embarrassed at all the fuss, the go-fast dinghy was zipping towards me with a young grinning male in it, and he grabbed my painter, (the bow rope on a dinghy) cleated it off his stern and began towing me to my sailboat. When we got there, I tossed my packages into the cockpit, and tied off my rubber boat. I stood up while grabbing the rail, and began to thank my benefactor in Spanish and English.

My peanut butter jar, rolled out of my slim shopping bag and he looked at it momentarily, then asked me if I would like to come for a drink and dinner and I said something stupid like "that's OK" and he was pretty insistent, that I at least come over for a drink, me being alone and all, it must be no fun at all on my boat, as if he was taking pity on me and couldn't understand my brief protest.

Well, why not, I knew at least twenty words of Spanish, that should cover about, um a 2 minutes of conversation... A cold drink sounded good, as my refrigerator wasn't installed yet, so I had nothing cold on board. It seemed a waste of money to buy bags of ice for one person, so I drank room temperature water onboard and ate simply.

We roared over to the armada and clamored aboard the first boat, which was in turn rafted up to about 15 more by now. I was introduced to a bevy of people and peppered with questions as to why a lone female was sailing around oh her own and so on. An icy cold drink was pressed into my hand and before I could say much at all, a heaping plate of food was passed my way.

While many chatted on in Spanish, several were kind enough to converse in English. This boat ran out of rum, and we climbed over 4 more boats to get more rum. Someone about 5 boats away was insistent we come down there for birthday cake, so we hopped from speed boat to trawler to cabin cruiser to powerboat and had birthday cake with mile high icing and a zillion calories. There seemed to be people traversing back and forth up and down the entire fleet. The music was blaring, and the people got louder as sunset quickly turned into the dark of night, our twilight being so brief in the islands.

I was like a celebrity, as people kept explaining to others that I was a lone sailor from the sailboat anchored about 20-30 feet away. Everyone pointed and repeated my boat name over and over, since it was emblazoned in large letters down the side of the boat. Women asked me again and again if I was truly alone and wondered how I ended up in such a lonely situation. "Don't you miss your family?" was often asked over and over. Puerto Ricans tend to bring a lot of family and friends on their trips. I was totally confused as I met aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, nannies, sons, daughters, grandparents, neighbors and coworkers.

It was probably long past midnight when someone finally deposited me home on my boat and I promptly fell fast asleep. At daybreak, I was up in my cockpit, drinking coffee from my stove top espresso pot. (I was super fond of this pot, as it made a mug of coffee in under 90 seconds on my gas stove.)


The go-fast dinghy arrived alongside my boat with a compelling invitation for breakfast. For the next three days and nights I dined and partied with the Puerto Rican fleet in Cane Garden Bay as I strained to learn more Spanish. When the PR Navy finally pulled out, they had left me with numerous hugs, kisses and well wishes plus a hearty plate of food wrapped in tin foil. As they pulled out of the harbor, they seemed to all wave frenetically at me, as if they were leaving a loved one to battle the war, as I stood alone in my cockpit, waving back until finally they were past the harbor.

I sat back down. Alone again. Just me and my boats. The deafening silence seemed eerily

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- Day 20 of hurricane season (and nothing yet!)
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Sat, 20 Jun 2009 14:24:46 EDT
Last night we had a mini-hurricane around sunset. It whipped up dark and breezy, real fast and just poured down rain ferociously like somebody draining that big old bathtub in the sky.

Daybreak looked a little gloomy, but it quickly tunred to bright blue skies and characteristic tradewinds. I can see some gray clouds that will move by and scatter some very brief showers around.

Technology, grrrrrrr......... Windows finally figured out how to disable my Dictionary and Thesaurus for good. It's a CD program I bought and I've been using ever since my first laptop that came with Windows 3 something. My memory and hard disk was so tiny at that time, that you had to have the CD in the tray just to use it. Then as years went on, I was able to copy the CD straight to the hard drive and use it on the later laptops and newer versions of Windows. This of course made me tremendously happy. But recently, windows updated my computer and found away to completely disable my program, no matter what I do. I don't see this as technology advancing, instead I see it as Windows STOLE my dictionary and thesaurus! Grrrrrrrrr! Since my internet is flaky, I need the standalone versions of dictionary and thesaurus. I feel so LOST these days without my program.

This sounds like fun!
Culture and Heritage Night on Jost Van Dyke Virgin Islands ...On Friday, July 10, 2009 at 6:00p.m. there will be an evening of song and story-telling in Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke (specific location TBA) to...

Dive BVI Wreck Week August 2009 - ScubaBoardBy VGdiver Dive BVI is hosting their first Wreck Week event, August 9-15 2009! They've got a great schedule set up with nightly parties, fantastic diving and.

Hope all is well in sunny Tortola. I know you are far away from Nova Scotia, but if you (through your contacts in the yachting world) have heard anything of the yacht, 'Actuel' mentioned in this link, please let the Coastguard know. If possible, please relay.

Another Caribbean island turns away cruise ship over swine flu fears

Click here: overboard on cruise ships

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- Life in de ilons...
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Fri, 19 Jun 2009 10:04:51 EDT
Picture perfect day in the BVI. I know I owe you some glamorous pictures, my battery thingy on the camera is cantankerous, but I am fixing it today *fingers crossed*. Tiny white caps can be seen in the Sir Francis Drake Channel and winds are blustery at 10-16mph. Big fluffy white clouds against a backdrop of powder blue skies greet the day and visibility is surprisingly good today.

Life in deh ilons...

For all you geeks who speak techno language, I've rewritten the glossary for when you be in da ilons, so you aren't clueless about how we speak.

Hard Drive The road to Smugglers Cove Beach is a long hard drive.

Floppy Drive When your tire mash up, it sound like floppy-floppy-floppy until you fix it.

Jump Drive When da jeep don't start up, you roll down the hill, pop the clutch and it jump drive.

CD Drive When you go to the strip club at night, that's a seedy drive.

Removable Drive That's when you moved to a new place but your jeep takes you home to the wrong place, then you do a removable drive

Keyboard I can play Caribbean Soul on the keyboard.

USB I asked the tourist; "You is be from the USA?

Backups That's when you put the jeep in reverse.

BETA Software I took the under-wires out of my bikini bra, now I got better soft wear.

Database Put the lime in the rum and coconut, dhat a base for a good drink.

Debugger I divorced de bugger years ago.

E-commerce At da funeral, he come in hearse with flowers.

GIF At Christmas I buy you gift.

ICON I can write definitions all day for ya.

Leaderboard When she surf, she lead her board out to the waves.

Netiquette When the bugs bite you at night, you need a mosquito net-a-kit over your bed.

Network Making dem fish nets is net work.

Newsgroup The coconut telegraph is the best newsgroup.

OCR Oh! Sea are ruff today!

QWERTY After a few rums, you sound qwerty.

RAM Da he-sheep.

Screenshot Dat rat rip my window screen now da screen shot.

Safe Mode When ya make love with protection, that is safe mode.

DVD When ya make love without protection, you get de VD.

Telecommunications. Now that's a fancy word for dat ilon gossip.

URL I tell me ex "you are hell to get along with".

Web Ring You're pregnant girlfriend's father wants to see dat wed-ring.

Web Site That's the place where you gonna tie da knot.

Zip I don't know zip about geeky computer terms.

What a Mermaid Sees under the Seas
Click to enlarge

I have a huge favor to ask any readers who bought my book "Hurricanes & Hangovers" if you would be willing to post a Review of the book on Amazon. The more good reviews, the better chance Amazon will actually help promote my book. Even if you didn't buy the book from Amazon, if you have ever bought anything from Amazon, in the past, they will allow you to post this review. A big THANK YOU to anyone that cares to do this.
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- Better late than never!
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2009 14:35:08 EDT
The internet is up and I better hurry up and get this out before anything else crashes and burns, like my toaster.

84 degrees at 130pm with brisk tradewinds and bright blue skies with the usual cloud groupies hanging about, looking for something to do.

No hurricanes or himmacanes expected this week, so you can sleep easy and it's a great day to go play in the sunshine!
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- Day 17 and all is SPENDID!
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Wed, 17 Jun 2009 10:06:58 EDT
907am and the current done mash up (no power, no elec-tricky). My batt-tree will die soon, maybe I will get one before the next hurricane or himmacane. Hoping da current come back before I fire up the generator. Ha!

A brilliant day with bright blue skies and white puffy clouds with a few gray ones thrown in. We had our early morning heavy dew (light rain). Might get some more vertical moisture, but only for a quickie, as the outdoor cats are indoors, even though the front door is propped wide open. The fat lazy one scowled at me, when the current mash up, because the fan he was laying under went off. The two brothers, both slim, trim and fit, were out all night doing heaven knows what and look positively exhausted today, collapsed a few feet apart in matching chairs. I recently sewed up some new covers for the chair cushions and that signaled the cats that this was done especially for their comfort and personal enjoyment. They've staked them out as "theirs" and it's the new favored napping spot. They are particular too, the black one gets the right chair and the tabby gets the left one and no switching about.

Like the old saying goes: Dogs have owners, Cats have servants.

Hey! Good news! 919am and da current done come back. Oh goody cause my gas can is still up the hill in the heap of a jeep. (I'm feeling lazy, sitting here with coffee and eyes propped open with toothpicks). By the way for those that wrote asking about my generator setup, I put together a list of what you need and where to buy it; portable power for under $650.

I try to remember to save my email throughout the writing so it doesn't get eaten by the cyber monsters. I reinstalled AOL and that seemed to eliminate the jumbys (Caribbean ghosts & spirits).

82 degrees, moderate winds, perfect for sailing, diving, watersports. Captain Roy took a private group out on snorkel adventures today and the water is PERFECT for that, very clear today, can probably see see the bottom down to 30-40 feet.

I was just going to sign off, but first a large bird crashed into the window screen and seemingly knocked himself out, in the garden. The cats have sprung to life and one is clinging to the inside of the screen looking for that bird. A flutter of feathers, and the bird rights himself and flies out of the garden. All 3 cats return to their snoozing spots.

OK, life can't get any stranger can it? About a minute later, the rooster comes inside and is sitting on top of the sofa seatback cushion! I didn't seem him fly in, just heard a noise, looked up and there is the rooster sitting on the sofa. I'm laughing, because the cats are merely watching him with bored interest. This rooster, that has adopted us, stalks the yard all day for tidbits, so I toss him something now and then. Although the cats avidly hunt, they look at the rooster as a pet and let him live here in peace.

Go figure.

Today's POEM:

A rooster cracks open the dawn like an egg, and Drops the sun neatly into the bowl of morning.Swirl in the susurrous sing-song of Bananaquits Queueing for their daybreak sugar fix.Sip gingerly, and let the tropic ambrosia Soothe away the remnants of last night’s excess.The questions of the day simplify themselves With insistent island logic.

By John Newsom April 2009

I pirated that from Reef Madness (a St John VI blog)

MORE pictures coming soon, I've had technical difficulties.

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- Day 16 of hurricane season (and still nuttin happenin!)
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Tue, 16 Jun 2009 15:24:51 EDT
Here I am! Finally! Still on Tortola! My email program crashed and burned and I've been fighting with it all day and finally I won and it works now. Whoa. I thought all this technology was supposed to save us time, not cost us more time!

The morning started off with a 98 second shower, but then by noon, skies were gray and cloudy with frequent brief rain showers, one lasting 12 minutes. The tradewinds are brisk and temperature is 82. It's a lazy day.

Festival in coming up on Tortola somewhere around July 25-August 10th (I THINK!). I've been begging the tourist board for more info, but so far no reply from them. There was an article in the newspaper June 11th saying they were just now getting organized and might have some updates for us eventually.

No storms on the horizon, my kitties are not fattening up, but they are ensconced in various locations throughout the house, working on their 17 naps per day.

What they need is a year round web page, detailing the secret festival. It's hard to promote an event when the promoters wait until the last minute to organize it.

But that is life in the islands, nothing in a hurry!

If you are looking for some fun reading, check out The Greatest Sea Stories Ever Told and sit back and relax for some harrowing adventure!

I am still LOST on Facebook.com, I need some serious techno help!

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- Monday Madness
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Mon, 15 Jun 2009 13:48:34 EDT
Beautiful blue skies, deep blue waters and breezy tradewinds have made this exquisite. Sure we have some pale gray clouds hovering about the wouthwest, oops the southsest, um, southwest!

(I'm tongue tied today and it's showing up in my typing!) I guess to be politically correct, I am "communicatively challenged" today.

We might get spit upon by a brief passing shower, such as the one that hit us earlier this morning, with great fury that lasted all of 2 minutes and 52 seconds.

No storms in the distance, looks like day 15 of hurricane season on Tortola is uneventful!

Boats are out and about enjoying the breezy tradewinds at 14-17mph, I wish I were one of them. I am tired of staying put in one place, my tail itches to go back to traveling. My crystal ball predicts it too, so travel must definitely be in my future.

I hope that doesn't mean a mere trip to town...

By the way I've received many email invitations from readers to join Twitter.com and Facebook.com and Wordpress and Amazons Author's Blog. I've managed to finally sign up for all four.

I am techno challenged, so it wasn't as easy as I thought, except Twitter, which tweets along just fine. So you can add Dear Miss Mermaid to any of these now and follow me there. My twitter tweets (twick or tweat?) often show short updates for BVI information, often with links to a page I've updated with info and I post there when I post here, so if you are tweetering on twitter, it will notify you when my update is posted here.

Confused? I hope knot...

RBVIYC Presents the Lowell Wheatley Anegada Race Virgin Islands ...The Royal British Virgin Islands Yacht Club Presents The LOWELL WHEATLEY ANEGADA RACE Sponsored by the Anegada Reef Hotel and Tico SATURDAY...

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- Sun Daze Amaze, Day 14 of Hurricane Seaon (and stil nuttin' happenin')
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Sun, 14 Jun 2009 11:35:11 EDT

Ocean temperatures. There is the BVI right on the edge of the hot water!That is Puerto Rico to the west of the BVI and below is of course, South America. Today started off beautiful, then it's turned a tad overcast. We had a nice but brief cooling rain last evening, but nothing much today. Temperature has soared to 84 degrees, but with the trade winds wafting by, we are pretty cool.

Dear Miss Mermaid, first off, let me thank you for your informative and entertaining weather blogs...

My wife and I are heading your way all the way from Cave Creek, Arizona for 10 days of sailing.. We had a wonderful time in the BVI in 1997 with another couple, and the four of us decided that if the Eagles can have a Reunion Tour...why not for old(er) farts like us?

Please go out and buy a new generator (the kind that prevents hurricanes), remain limber, and ask your cats if they wouldn't mind eating light for the next week or two....as this will probably be our last visit to your neck of the woods...

Regards, J.C.

Thank you for your flattering email! *blush*

By all means come sail a reunion tour, the anchorages and beaches aren't crowded and the winds are brisk, so you should have a great time. I'll have a word with the big power upstairs, and see if they can keep all hurricanes and himmacanes away from us during your vacation. I'll alert you if I get sore or the cats start overfeeding!

And if not, then well, we have the BEST hurricane parties around! (By the way it's considered Good Luck to buy my book *tee hee* and it makes a GREAT souvenir (one size fits all!) *giggle* so buy a dozen (I'm not pushy am I?)

My husband and I are coming to BVI next week and I stumbled across your wonderful blog. I'd love to buy your book but can only find it on amazon. It won't get here in time if I order it now and I'm wondering if it's available anywhere on Tortola?

THANK you for such a nice email! Yes, my book is available on Tortola and Jost Van Dyke, in these locations: (Ask for the zip lock baggy, if it's not already encased in one) I provide custom ziplocks, so the sailors can get them back to the boat nice and dry!

Serendipity Book Shop, Main Street, Road Town, Tortola

Cruzins Bar and Restaurant and Gift Shop in Carrot Bay, North Shore Tortola

Pro Valor Charters & Gift Shop, Harbour View Marina, East End, Tortola

Myetts Gift Shop at Cane Garden Bay Beach, (Olivia's Corner Store) Tortola

Jost Van Dyke Scuba Shop, on the beach, Great Harbor, Jost Van Dyke

Now if you get LOST, they are also sold on the island of Vieques at the

Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust

As well as in Florida at Mexico Beach, Florida Restaurant--Amanda's Bistro and Pantry (also famous for their Fool Moon Parties!)

And if you pass through the big Panama canal, they are sold in Oregon at Captains Lady Books & Gifts (the owner is the author of 3 books, 2 about the BVI and 1 about a Mermaid!)

I hope to get them spread around more among the islands, it all takes times, unless shop owners email me first (before I get to them!)
Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid

Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.comFollow DearMissMermaid on Twitter.Com

- Day 13 of Hurricane Season
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Sat, 13 Jun 2009 10:34:32 EDT
Today is a public holiday in the BVI. It's the Queen of England's birthday.

I was informed of this matter, when I called to mention the internet had been down for 12 hours. The operator informed me, that afterall, since it was a holiday, it might not get fixed. (OK, so what's your excuse on the non-holidays?)

She also informed me, it was too EARLY to call a technician. (I guess they need their quiet time in the mornings.)

So I guess it's time for me to do my weather reports the old fashioned way.

First I study my crystal ball, then I consult with the cats, finally I go outside and gauge the sky, the humidity, the winds, the sun and my various injured body parts.

Soooooooooooo, in Tortola today, we can expect mostly sunny skies, with occasional short mini showers and typical tradewinds around 15mph. No storms on the horozion. (The cats bulk up on food before bad weather and today they were happy with a modest breakfast and didn't eat triple amounts like before a storm.)

None of my past injuries ache, so no tropical waves or depressions are imminent. Sea conditions appear perfect for boating and diving today, so I guess all is well!
Fish Traps in the BVI, click for full size.

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- Day 12 of Hurricane and Himmacane Season
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Fri, 12 Jun 2009 12:16:14 EDT
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Today is drop dead gorgeous in the BVI. Yesterday I was at the north shore of Tortola, sans camera, and was amazed at how flat calm it was. You could have shot up to Anegada and made the only ripple on the sea. No storms on the horizon. Yet.

Very breezy today +15mph, and 82 degrees, so it's feeling nice and cool with the tradewinds kicking in again.

Skies are BLUE again! A beautiful Caribbean summery day. Which our LONGEST day will be in about 9 days! Summer solstice is on the 21st.

Speaking of 21, Father's day is around the corner on June 21st.

Shop at my CafePress store today and get FREE shipping in the USA. Use promo code "GO4FATHER".

Alternatively, dress him up in Caribbean tropical shirts! See the huge selection (including extra extra large sizes) at the flip plop brigade! Also see beautiful sarongs and sun dresses (for the cross dresser!) char har har!

Better late than never!
Tourist Board Debuts Taxi Guide Book at Training WorkshopPlatinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin IslandsGuide books are available for the islands of Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke. The training workshop concludes tomorrow, Friday June 12. ...

BVI Has First Confirmed Case of H1N1 VirusPlatinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin IslandsLocally, the BVI Health Services Authority has confirmed its first case of the virus today and is encouraging the residents of the Territory to be proactive ...

First Swine Flu Patient Being Monitored; Officials Say No Need to ...Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin IslandsDancia Penn-Sallah has confirmed that the BVI has confirmed its first case of Influenza A H1N1 – commonly called Swine Flu, which was first reported by BVI ...

Talkin' Tourism: Tales from the BVI and “fish condos” along our ...By Talkin' Tourism Talkin Tourism is back from the BVI with tall tales and great stories about ten days in paradise. Listen as host Gary Guertin shares some of the adventures shared by Tortola Lola and “Radioman” during their stay. ...

Come see what Dear Miss Mermaid sees under the seas!
Dive Into Tortola's Tranquil Undersea WondersPR Newswire (press release) - New York,NY,USATORTOLA, British Virgin Islands, June 11 /PRNewswire/ -- An underwater wonderland of huge boulders, sponge covered canyons and soft coral gardens awaits ...

This is SCARY about the world running out of fish! A new movie...
Click here: The End of the Line :: Home Page

Well, I better get this out while the internet is up! It's gone down 8 times today (and it ain't even noon yet!)
Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid

Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.com

- Day 11, still no hurricanes, yippee!
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Thu, 11 Jun 2009 08:27:17 EDT
The sun arose in the BVI with brisk cooling breezes and overcast skies. The temperature has actually dropped 2 degrees since day break. Most unusual.

Current radar suggests that we will have passing clouds and scattered showers today. My showering cat already came home in the wee hours with his freshly showered fur, he wanted me to brush backwards for him, giving him a punk look while he air-dried.

His brother came home with a pierced ear! Good grief, will he come home with a tattoo next? He was sitting on my desk, admiring my breakfast, when I noticed I could see daylight through a tiny hole in his pointy ear. It's just the perfect size for an earring.

Tranquil marine conditions will prevail for the next week or so. Now we just need some sunshine and we are good to go!

The internet abounds with cheap airfare websites, promising you the best deals. One scenario I've seen happen to me and others, is that you find your ticket and after checking 1-2-3 days before and after, you find that if you go on this date and come back on that date, your ticket is $395 instead of $910. You've made a note of the dates, and flights and so on. As you may have noticed, most airfare pages won't save correctly, so you have to paste and copy or simply copy by brain to text or paper.

Now you make calls and arrangements, check for other things, like where to stay or who with and who else is going. Then you decide to buy the tickets and now the website claims they're are all sold but for only $520, you can now have the same ticket and itinerary.

Maybe you can find the elusive $395 ticket on another site, maybe not. Very frustrating and by now you've probably spent a few hours sorting out your trip, only to find out you aren't going anywhere after all.

Well, it's time to learn how to clean out your browsers cache completely, delete your cookies, clean up your tracks, delete your internet history and delete your temporary internet files. Now close out your internet explorer all together, after deleting everything (cookies and temporary files). Restart the explorer, go back to the site that first offered you the $395 ticket and it pops back up again, right at the top. BUY IT!

Some airfare sites, are sneaky, they record your cheap ticket and the fact you didn't buy it on impulse. So the next time you try to buy it, they want you to think it is no longer available and force you into a higher ticket price. This is why you want to delete the cookies. To erase your tracks.

Also, do NOT sign into a website for cheap airfare, even if you are a member. It's better to search anonymously, delete your cookies and search again, if you need to. Try to be flexible about your dates, as you can often save a lot this way. Check to make sure you aren't traveling too close to a high period. A self employed friend of mine booked his ticket by picking dates arbitrarily, being self employed, he could have been more flexible. Because he was using the calendar provided on the airfare website, he didn't realize he was traveling Easter week. Easter changes every year and so does the popularity of tickets. He ended up with a high cost ticket, yet if he had chosen the week before or the week after, his airfare would have been about half or better.

Check for alternate airports. I was trying to get to the New Hampshire coast. Most people would fly into Boston. I flew into Manchester NH, a much smaller airport, that ironically had better flight connections and a much cheaper fare. Different airports have different landing fees, so it pays to check around.

Another time, I was able to save about $500 on a ticket, because I was landing in an airport 90 miles from my final destination. After a few phone calls, I was able to find a willing friend to pick me up 90 miles away and another to return me 10 days later. That's $250 savings each way, over my preferred airport, surely I can pony up some gas money and dinner for their efforts and we all have fun.

A much larger airport, 150 miles away, was not able to offer any substantial savings, the ticket to there or to the preferred airport were about the same. Something I can't explain. It's my belief the airlines have always made buying cheap tickets a difficult task.

Whenever possible try to plan a month ahead, as there are sometimes 30 day advance purchase tickets, 21 day advance, 14 day and 7 day etc.

When shopping for tickets under 14 days advance, you will have to search long and hard to find a deal, unless your chosen route is half empty. I don't think there is anyway to know how many tickets are left on a flight, without first buying the ticket. But I know that I once bought a ticket to Hawaii, about 8 months in advance, as it seemed like a super cheap bargain and I had to be there on business anyhow, but wanted to spend extra time there to vacation. The connections were good with only one stop and no plane changes. A few weeks before my trip, my new boyfriend wanted to join me. We made a few phone calls (this was pre-internet) and discovered a 21 day advance ticket purchase for the same price I had paid 8 months earlier. Two more friends heard of our bargain, checked their schedules and also bought tickets to join us. As it turned out, the airplane was no where near full and we and other passengers were able to move around and have more room.

Think off-season. The Caribbean and BVI are in off-season until about mid December. Cheap tickets can be found to come on down and enjoy some peace in paradise. The snowbirds have made our winter season more popular than our summer season. Enjoy our beaches with less crowds, take advantage of villa and hotel discounts. Think about a chartered yacht trip. Many are privately owned, and can make instant decisions on whether they want to offer you a deal for a summer trip in the Caribbean.

BVI Poised to Bring Home the Gold from Regional Culinary ...Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin IslandsThe BVI National Culinary Team leaves the BVI on Friday June 12th to take part in the annual Taste of the Caribbean competition at the Caribe Hilton in ...

VI Festivals and Fairs Committee Prepares for 2009 BVI ...Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin IslandsThe Virgin Islands Festivals and Fairs Committee under the Chairmanship of Mr. Colin Scatliffe, has begun preparations for the 2009 BVI Emancipation ...

WOW~ A fantastic story well worth reading!
Couple's sailing dream is wrecked by a whaleDorset Echo - UK... from Sutton Poyntz, Weymouth, were living the dream of an around-the-world trip when the drama occurred in rough seas near the British Virgin Islands. ...

Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid
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- Day 10 hurricane season (no storms yet!)
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2009 21:11:25 EDT

I will be in the BVI tomorrow. Am interested in knowing what the weather is up to there. A friend is telling me rainy & warm. Do you have amore specific forecast for the next 2 weeks? All the best, & thanks in advance, Fran

You're in luck! I checked my crystal ball today and we have NO hurricanes or himmacanes planned for the next two weeks. Sure, it might rain, but VERY unlikely that it will rain for more than 5 minutes at a time. Temperatures will range from 75-82, depending on whether you are in the mountains or at the seashore.

It's a perfect time to be in the BVI and today the weird fog left. Whew!

Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid

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- Day 9, Hurricane Season
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Tue, 9 Jun 2009 11:16:47 EDT
It was quite the lightning show throughout the night with a subtle bass sounds, of distant grumbling, rumbling, mumbling from distant thunder, punctuated by light and heavy rain squalls.

A weak tropical wave located near 71 west longitude early this morning will continue to move away from the local area. Surface high pressure across the tropical Atlantic will maintain gentle to moderate trade wind flow across the local area. Mid to upperlevel ridge will remain across the northeast Caribbean at least through the end of the week.

We still have this thick fog on the horizon. Rarely ever seen this before, this year seems to have many unique weather features! I'm only half ready for a hurricane, so should we really get one, I'm in trouble already. If I get completely ready (and I hope to soon) then we won't have a hurricane.

My friend in Florida says "Buy a generator! It prevents hurricanes!" He claims that ever since he bought his generator, he hasn't had one hurricane since.

I recently learned how to repair my own generator, and I sure was tickled with myself. I just have a 1kw Kipor generator (which I just checked and it's selling for only $549, not bad for the peace of mind it brings) that weight about 30 pounds and more or less is the size of a portable sewing machine and sounds about like a very busy sewing machine. I can set the generator 20 feet from the TV and still here the TV at a normal volume. But I do have a 100 foot cord so I have loads of options.

If you buy a little generator, buy one or two heavy duty 100 feet electrical cords. This means you can run a cord to wherever you need or want power. I then add a six way electrical strip to the end of the cord and then plug in my computer, fan and light etc. At night, in the dark of a power outage, I often plug in the TV, light and optional DVD player and watch movies under the fan to the whir of the generator. I've also run it to the microwave to make or heat up dinner.

I've been told it would probably run the refrigerator, but I've never tried. Most of our outages are 1-4 hours, so I just let the fridge live on its on, as I rarely have meats inside and veggies and cheeses can take the temperature changes more easily than meats. Usually if you don't open the freezer at all, it's good for 24 hours, especially if it's full. Full freezers whether just a part of your fridge or a stand alone freezer, always run better when full. As you empty it out of food, add ice or ice trays or jugs of drinking water.

At those times when I do have a spare jug of frozen water in the freezer, I will move it to the fridge when the power goes out. Anything touchy, like milk, I will move over next to the frozen jug. On the other hand, if you can refrain from opening the fridge at all, it's good for a few hours, but after a few hours, it's worth it to transfer any ice from the freezer to the fridge and thus try to keep your cold stuff cold a bit longer. I always have a big square bucket of premade ice sitting around my freezer for drinks and company. Of course this can melt into one big giant chunk, and at that point, you need an ice pick or to just dump it and start a new batch, when power returns.

We've had about 5 power outages in the last week. I wonder if they do this to boost generator sales! Problem is, they don't seem to sell small quiet generators around here. I know because I tried to buy one and finally had this Kipor generator mailed to my USVI PO Box, address, from Amazon, then I transferred it over here. It's paid for itself ten times over, in comfort. Plus it will run my entire office, so I have no excuse not to work, when the power dies.

My laptop battery was lost in shipping last fall, and I still haven't got around to buying another one. I guess this year, I have to seriously reconsider that again.

By the way, if you are bored, here's a list of my latest recipes posted on the internet.

Today's Quote:
Handle stress like a dog. Just pee on it and walk away.
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If ya wanna lay on the beach all day drinking rum...
Then ya gotta start in the morning!
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Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid
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- Day 8 Hurricane Season
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Mon, 8 Jun 2009 17:50:42 EDT
The other tropical wave has hit us! We have that fog back again, low level clouds almost touching the water. NO winds and it's raining on and off, preparing us for hurricane season.
I went to see how the fog looked aboard the new web cam on Sophisticated Lady and it looks like she hauled herself out into a boat yard! Well, tis the season, some of those mean old insurance companies insist you haul you boat or be un-insured. I never spent a dime on insurance for my boat. I had storm damages too, but by the time you figured the deductible, the hassle of the claims and the cost of the insurance, my damages were actually cheaper to pay then if I had insurance to cover them. So I was lucky! Each person must figure their own risk.

If you choose not to insure, try to sock away your insurance premiums into so savings accounts or investments (ha ha ha). At least then, you have something put away for a rainy day aka the day after the hurricane (or himmacane!)

Well, it's also time to start stockpiling canned foods, batteries, candles, rum, gas and all that fun stuff, so when the BIG ONE comes to scare us, you won't have much to do.
Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid

Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.c
- (no subject)
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Mon, 8 Jun 2009 11:47:14 EDT
84 degrees on a quiet Monday. Last night I could hear the tropical wave march right past us. The winds whipped up and seas were choppy and a bit of rain briefly fell. Then by morning, all was beautiful again. Well sort of.

There is this thick fog laying about, and we don't get fog, but we have it now. Very eerie.

My friend was out late last night and he said the fog was so thick, he could barely see to drive. Very odd stuff this fog.

I was watching the fool moon party at Trellis Bay via the webcam on S/V Sophisticated Lady. So I thought I would make a post and others could watch the party too. I could see the fireball lit up brightly and people traversing the beach. Before I cold post, POOF, the internet crashed and it never came back up again. I called about it, got the usual run around. Today it is working again, intermittently, I will try to get this out pronto!

I finished up my work and went to bed,woke up, couldn't sleep, turned on the idiot box and there was the Roseanne show, playing a marathon. So I giggled my way through the night, as much of it was hilarious. I didn't have a TV for 20+ years, so I never saw the show when it was first run. If you need a good giggle, they deliver plenty.

It must have been a great full moon party at both ends of the island as things are super quiet on my end of the island. Another new restaurant packed up bags and closed for good. Kind of sad. The employees were the last to know. I know the feeling, it's happened to me before.

Well, the good news is there are cheap flights all over creation coming down here. Bargains abound!

Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid

Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.com
A Good Credit Score is 700 or Above. See yours in just 2 easy steps!
- Sun Daze today
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Sun, 7 Jun 2009 11:45:11 EDT
Beautiful clear day mostly. Full moon tonight and fool moon parties at both ends of the island of Tortola. For more info click here.

Perfect sailing weather, 82 degrees, winds around 15mph, smallish sea swells. Front end of the tropical wave is now approaching, sending seemingly dry clouds overhead, we could get a splash of rain here and there today, but nothing much to speak about.

No storms are expected just yet, so hold on tight!

FirstBank Donates to the Jost Van Dyke Preservation Society ...FirstBank has donated $1000 to the Jost van Dyke Preservation Society, a local not-for-profit organization focused on advancing environmental...

Message by the Minister for Natural Resources & Labour, Hon. Omar ...SKNVibes.com - Basseterre,St. Kitts and Nevis... the Rock Iguana and Virgin Islands Tree Boa, both endemic to the island of Anegada. These special creatures cannot be found anywhere else in the world. ...
Tales of St. John & the Caribbean: Book People St. John LifeBy gerald Reason being is because in those days, which were the 50s and 60s, not many yachtsmen would venture across to Jost Van Dyke. I for one used to call white folk “Book People,” for that's the only place I used to see them, ...

Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid

Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.com

- Saturdaze
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Sat, 6 Jun 2009 14:10:00 EDT
Another wonderful day in paradise, though most of the morning we were without power. The BVI elec-tricky seems to be having problems again, as my little generator gets a workout pretty often now. I don't care if people make fun of it *giggle* it's so wittle and cute, but it does the job and best of all it's QUIET.

82 degrees at 140pm, I am late writing today. Oh well, life is slow sometimes! Nothing on the horizon to bother us yet, but great day for sailing and I can see hundreds of boats in the Sir Francis Drake channel today. What with May being a record breaking gloomy sky month, many boat owners have a new appreciation for fair weather and the delights of sailing.
This is a picture from the porthole, I took the other day of Jost Van Dyke and Little Jost, as seen from the North Shore of Tortola. Click here to enlarge.

TOMORROW is the full moon with parties at both ends of the island, plus during the day from Noon to 6pm is a Flea Market in Carrot Bay at Cruzins. Brings stuff to sell!

Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid

Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.com
- Day 5 of Hurricane Season
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Fri, 5 Jun 2009 06:52:55 EDT
Two tropical waves east of us in the BVI (already!) but nothing much to fret about at this time. 82 degrees at sea level, winds are slight and from the east at 7-10mph, enough for gentle sailing. The skies are partly cloudy with the sun fighting for dominance.

Several new webcam's have popped up recently, and I've added these to the link at :

If you find anymore webcam's, let me know! You can now see the beach at Soggy Dollar Bar in White Bay, Jost Van Dyke, plus bar and beach cams at Norman Island and even a webcam from a sailing yacht! I'm working to add an uneventful cam from Camanoe as well.

By the way the link to the picture of the steel committee boat for the Wooden Boat Regatta was fixed, you can see the full sized image of it here.

By the way you can follow Dear Miss Mermaid at Twitter.com and get updates as I post them!

Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid

Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.com

- Day 4 of Hurricane Season
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Thu, 4 Jun 2009 09:21:16 EDT
Winds are expected to be 15-20 knots today with scattered showers and seas of 3-5 feet. You can generally expect about the same through Sunday.

There is a tropical wave west of us that seems to be no threat at this time.

Checking weather while sailing, try your VHF radio, you can monitor NOAA on WX 5 (out of Culebra) and 6 (out of St. Croix) on your sailing yacht VHF radio. The broadcasts alternate in both Spanish & English.

On FM radio, local BVI radio station 90.9 gives local weather several times a day, along with local news and music.

2009 Tropical Cyclone Names aka Hurricane Names (I've made my own notes in parenthesis to more clearly reflect the season's greetings...)

Ana (Ana Banana, with a sweet name like that, who can take it seriously? Bill (Bad Boy Bill!)Claudette claw-DET (Clawed-it!)Danny (Damn-it Danny)Erika ERR-ree-ka (Where Err We Go with Err-ree-ka?)Fred (ferocious Freddy?)Grace (race from Grace before disgrace)Henri ahn-REE (On We go again with Ahn-REE!)Ida (Ida know where she blows...)Joaquin (What? No pronunciation? You gotta be Joke-In)Kate (A late date with fate, here comes Kate)Larry (sounds awfully tame, Hairy Larry keep me merry?Mindy (Windy Mindy!)Nicholas NIK-o-las (Hey! You aren't spose to be here til December!)Odette o-DET (Oh Dat T'ing O-DET...)Peter (Teeter Peter Beater)Rose (aw now that's just too cute, Rose Blows?)Sam (Who names a himmacane Sam? Sam the Ram or Sam Wham?)Teresa te-REE-as (you sure about that pronunciation? WHAT? they named a hurricane after a Saint? tsk tsk tsk, will we all live in poverty afterwards?)Victor VIC-ter (Which vector is Victor?Wanda (I wonda where Wanda will wanda...now this is a name we can have fun with!)

NOAA supplied the pronunciation (I'm innocent! I swear to Dog I am not dyslexic!)

MaxWeather sent over this great info on "How to Prepare Your Boat for a Hurricane from Boat US". Since it's rather lengthy, I've reprinted it at this link for you.

(One thing they FORGOT to mention, was to stock up on Rum for the hurricane or himmacane!)

No Environmental Issues at Scrub Island Resort, Opening Set for ...Platinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin IslandsSpeaking to BVI Platinum News during a visit to the Scrub Island Resort Marina and Spa which is some 80 percent completed, Collier explained that the ...

Click to see this picture of "Interlude in Road Town Tortola"
Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid

Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.com

- A Tad Stormy
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Wed, 3 Jun 2009 12:24:24 EDT
Rainy days are here again on Tortola in the BVI, at least we've had a rainy morning, overcast, the kind of day where you just want to curl up in bed with a kitty and snooze. It's 82 degrees at sea level, much cooler in the mountain areas.

The low pressure about 425 miles north north-east of the Azores continues to produce gale force winds. This is not a threat to us, at least not now, and should commit suicide over cooler waters.

Radar shows more rains on the way, but seas are nice, and sailing is good if you don't mind a fresh water shower now and then!

BVI MTB Club - One Tuff MuddaPlatinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin IslandsThe Corsairs Bar - One Tuff Mudda Race will start at 10am at Corsairs Bar in Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke. The Ferry will leave West End at 9am and return ...

Financial Support for Local Musicians Around the CornerPlatinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin IslandsFinancial support for local musicians here in the BVI is well underway despite some setbacks, according to Education and Culture Minister Hon. Andrew Fahie. ...

Police Recruits Return from Training; BVI Recruit Tops ClassPlatinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin IslandsSome 11 police recruits returned to BVI following six months of training at the Regional Police Training Centre in Seawell, Barbados. ...
Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid

Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.com

- Day 2 of Hurricane Season
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Tue, 2 Jun 2009 13:05:08 EDT
BVI Elec-tricky and the internet came back up, so out to cyberworld, I shall trust my luck! Right when I sent this hours ago, the internet hiccupped and went into a coma. The email seemed to vanish. It didn't post and it didn't auto save in my email filing. So I was miffed. I hate it when I write things and lose them. Usually I can rewrite it from memory, more or less, but usually am too tired to do so. Writing can be exhausting at times. Besides writing here, I write and post all over the internet. I'm compiling all the links at DearMissMermaid.com so you can find them if you want to. Yesterday I wrote a restaurant review and right when I posted it POOF, another internet hiccup and coma. I thought I had a saved a copy and well, if I did, I lost it somehow. *sigh* But today, after signing off and signing back on to my email account, it magically appeared as "saved to be sent later". Oh my goodness, I was ever so happy.

An area of low pressure 325 miles north north east of the Azores islands is producing gale force winds! No threat to us at this time, but our sky is alternating between rain, clouds and sunshine at 82 degrees.

Well, before I got this out we had a mini hurricane! Winds and heavy rains, but now the sun is fighting to peek through the clouds again.

Ah well the current done mash up, figures, I was about to go shower and wash my hair and go to town for an appointment. YIKES! Hate to go dirty... Nobody likes a dirty mermaid...

Well, should I wait it out or just go fire up the baby generator? My soon-to-die laptop battery will determine that. Now I am mad at myself for not showering sooner. I don't know if my baby generator will run the water pump. Pumps tend to draw a lot of current and I am not even sure if my pump has a plug. Grrrrrrr........

Oh well, if it rains again, I can shower outside!

I better get this out before the internet mash up too!
The Caribbean Charter Industry and the EconomyAll At Sea - Saint Thomas,US Virgin Islands,U.S. Virgin IslandsFrom October to December, says Dick Schoonover, who manages the clearinghouse CharterPort BVI in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, “Advanced bookings ...See all stories on this topic
4.6 quake hits north of Virgin Islands; no damageeTaiwan News - Taiwan... magnitude of 4.6 and the epicenter was located about 80 miles (130 kilometers) northeast of Tortola, the capital of the British Virgin Islands. ...

Art and Soul - St. John Artist and Sailor Les AndersonAll At Sea - Saint Thomas,US Virgin Islands,U.S. Virgin IslandsLes helped build the first Tamarind Bar on Jost Van Dyke that, back then, had an honor system. “Whenever we got started with t-shirts, Les did the art for ...

Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid
Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.com

- A Glorious New Day and a Holiday!
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Mon, 1 Jun 2009 09:37:59 EDT
It's Whit Monday and a Public holiday in the islands. Yippee! It's 81 degrees, and my crystal ball predicts and entire day of alluring weather, just like being the Caribbean!

We love our holidays here and any excuse to party. The sun is up and out so folks are going to be out in the sunshine and several parties are being held at various beaches. Boats are already traversing the waters, marine conditions are near perfect though the sailors are hollering for a bit more wind out there. Winds of 6mph just isn't enough to push most boats. Though my beloved sailboat had this tall rig model, as Catalina, the manufacturer called it, and it would sail on the slightest breeze. Indeed I sailed under reef many times because the rig was so tall, it could easily overpower the boat when winds hit above 15mph.

Since I often either taught sailing or had newbies chartering on board, I saw no reason to terrify them much by putting the rail in the water. One lady tried to knock me in the water though. She was well endowed and had on a teeny bikini, I had asked her to take the helm and keep us pointed in the wind while I raised the sails. She had lived aboard and sailed for 2 years with her ex-boyfriend, so I foolishly assumed she might know how to steer for 5 minutes while I hoisted main and jib. (I never did get around to putting roller furling on my boat. )

Well, we are leaving the harbor, already past the final marker, as others are coming into the harbor and men from another boat, passing us closely, were flirting with her, as her itsy bitsy teeny bikini top was a few sizes too small for her upper body and it looked like it could bust open at any moment. (Think of two homegrown watermelons covered with a dainty cocktail napkin each...) These weren't implants, but the real t'ing mon.

She decided to dance, wiggle and jiggle her various body parts for their delight, while they oohed and aahed and made odd comments, one I shall not forget was "Oh my gosh, she's got enough showing to make a hungry baby cry!"

Meanwhile, she forgot all about steering, basking in the attention, and turned loose of the wheel just as the main sail was already up and the jib halfway and suddenly the wind grabs the main sail and the boat heals over, then leaps forward sailing and I was suddenly knocked about and left scrambling for the lifelines, praying I wouldn't fall overboard.

I looked aft at the wheel which was spinning around while my helms lady with her back to the wheel was doing her dance to entertain the other boat, the other 2 ladies in the cockpit were doing likewise in their binkins. I had to drop the jib and run to the cockpit and grab the wheel and trim the main. The captain of the boat with the men on board flirting, really got a great laugh out of all our antics. We must have looked hopelessly clueless, (if not well endowed.)

I couldn't yell or scream, after all my weekend passengers were paying my charter fee, and included with that is the unspoken rule to forever be nice to the passengers, no matter what they do to you. We sailed awhile with just the main up, and then once again, I put a different lady at the helm and I raised the jib, and off we went merrily on our way.

We spent the night anchored near Foxy's on Jost Van Dyke, which always has a bevy of men, ready to entertain ladies on the loose. Around midnight, we made it back to the boat. One lady slept in the forepeak, another in the aft bunk and the watermelon lady collapsed on the midship's bunk on the starboard side, while I cooled out in the roomy cockpit. Normally, I would pull out the midship's bunk, another 6 inches and that gave one much needed extra room for slumbering. But my passenger had seemingly passed out cold and waking her up to pull out the bunk seemed fruitless. When I made it up earlier in the day with fresh sheets, I had showed the ladies how it pulled out, then I pushed it back in, as it made for easier passage through the boat.

Hours later, sunrise woke me immediately in the cockpit and I had the urge to visit the throne, known as the head on a ship and for you landlubbers, the toilet or water closet. I stepped down the companionway and there blocking my path to the throne was one of her watermelons. I froze in place staring at this incredible sight. I'm sure my eyes were big as saucers. I had never seen anything like this at all before or since in my short life. She was sound asleep on her back, wearing a tank top night dress, but she was slightly leaning towards the boat's center. One of her watermelons had fallen OUT of her tank top, rolled off the bunk and was, well um, how to say it, but just dangling there naked, blocking my path to the head. Ouch! Doesn't that hurt? How can she sleep like THAT?

I thought of my hilarious childhood etiquette guidebooks by Sesyle Joslin my mother bought me one Christmas.It has such useful things in it such as "What do you do, dear, when the lady you are forcing to walk the gangplank drops her handkerchief?" or "What do you say, dear, when you bump into a crocodile on a crowded city street?"

I thought of the famous Miss Manner's books, who seems to cover most every embarrassing occasion one could come upon. And I could not come up with a proper way to deal with this gracefully at all. Or maybe it was just too early in the morning for this, all together.

Do I attempt to step over the naked watermelon and journey on to the head? What if I accidentally bumped it and woke her up? My legs are kind of short and I wasn't sure I could step over this, um, naked appendage neatly. Do I attempt to pick it up and try to tuck it back in her tank top and back on the bunk? What if it fell out again? What if she woke up while I struggled with her naked watermelon in my hands? How would THAT look? What if it was too heavy for me to lift I thought comically and willed myself not to laugh outloud at the absurdity of the whole situation. The other two ladies continued to sleep soundly, so I was all alone with my dilema.

Meanwhile my body is reminding me that a visit to the head is imperative. I looked back outside and many boats were anchored nearby and several people were awake sitting in their cockpits, so I couldn't just go use an emergency bucket in the cockpit without attracting unwanted attention.

I looked down below again at the offending watermelon blocking my path. I had the absurd thought that it would make a hilarious, if not downright hysterical picture, but couldn't bring myself to snap one. I must admit, I stared in awe, longer than I should have, trying to figure out how it was she could sleep so soundly with this, um, body part, hanging out of her shirt and hanging off the bunk, hovering about an inch above the sole of the boat and about 2 inches from the galley cabinet on the port side.

This was the only narrow part of the boat, the passage between the bunk and the galley cabinet and this was one mega watermelon. (No, Dolly Parton wasn't aboard my boat, and besides, this lady had her beat by several bra sizes!)

Should I clamor over the galley counter, then into the booth seating, crawl across the saloon table then lower myself to the sole and then walk into the head? That would certainly bypass the gargantuan watermelon, but might make a lot of noise. And if my passengers wake up, how do I explain that I am crawling on all fours across the saloon table?

My muscles strained and reminded me to make a decision SOON, or else! I climbed back up to the cockpit, then down into the dinghy and willed my tiny little outboard engine to race ashore to an obscure place, far from the closed bars and seaside homes, away from the curious eyes of those already awake on their boats and sitting topside, watching me clear across the harbor in search of privacy. There under cover of a proliferate sea grape tree I frantically dug a small hole in the sand and well, um relieved myself primitive style. I kicked sand back over my contribution to fertilizing the sea grapes (Yep, the cat's have taught me SOMETHING about using the great outdoors!)

I stood up and quite honestly, I don't think I've ever felt quite so relieved in all my life. I boarded my dinghy and lazily drove back to the boat and quietly boarded and sat in the cockpit, folding my sheet up silently, while the ladies below slept another half hour. Under cover of dark sunglasses, I couldn't help but occasionally sneak a peek at the naked watermelon which continued to just, well, um dangle there.

Finally the lady in the forepeak climbs out of her bunk and sleepily into the head which was next to her bunk. She locks the bifold teak door and does her business then exits and stands there staring at the naked watermelon blocking her path to the cockpit. At the top of her lungs she says "OH MY GAWD! Look at THAT!" and points at it, while looking at me in the cockpit. I glance over and pretend to look VERY surprised, then turn my head politely away, smothering the urge to giggle out loud.

The watermelon lady wakes up, and absent mindedly tucks her watermelon back into her tank top, sits up and says "Look at WHAT?" her bloodshot eyes staring at the other lady, then back at me again, a ready grin on her face cause she wants to see THAT.

The lady in the aft bunk chimes in with the same question and now everyone is up and awake. The forepeak lady, her face now a beet red, mumbles something about a big fish jumping and points towards me and the cockpit. I turn and gaze at the ocean, and nod my head knowingly, holding my arms out wide, to mock a big fish size, as if I've just witnessed a large jumping fish too.

My ribs are aching as I do my very best not to just burst out laughing. It's time for me to make the coffee and play the gracious host during breakfast and I try to focus on that rather than laugh myself silly, which is what I really wanted to do, but how to explain THAT?

Oh well, all's well, ends well, just another memorable weekend charter aboard my boat.


Popeye’s Fried Chicken is Back By: BVI Platinum NewsAfter a six months absence, persons can now purchase their fried chicken from Popeye’s Snackette once again as the popular restaurant is back to... Full Story

Department of agriculture cultivates perennial fruit treesSKNVibes.com - Basseterre,St. Kitts and NevisRoadtown, Tortola - The Department of Agriculture continues to take steps towards greater food-sufficiency and sustainability. On May 26 staff members from ...

(By the way Road Town is TWO words, not one)

British Virgin Islands promotes beekeeping (No, not bookkeeping...)MSN Money - USASAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - The British Virgin Islands is launching a beekeeping program to stimulate the economy and attract entrepreneurs. ...

Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid
Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.com

- Warm and Super Sunny Sunday Regards
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Sun, 31 May 2009 08:33:14 EDT
Dry and stable conditions today, bright blue sky, perfect marine conditions. It's a great day to be out on the water or at the beach.

Purr my cat; it's PURR-FECT weather!

The rest of the week is expected to be really nice too with just the odd typical short shower here and there. Enough to rinse the dust off your boat. ~~~(\_~~~

No cases of swine flu here (yet) but since we are a crossroads for travelers from all over the world, you just never know. I've been in hiding for a few days as I had a monster fever that wouldn't go away. Had to wrap my head in icy cold towels and pray for relief. I would get up and after an hour or so would be so exhausted, I had to lay down again and snooze. The fever made me loopy. I dropped my thermometer and broke it, so I lost track of how bad it was. My housemate kept saying I should go see the doctor, but most things go away in a few days anyhow. Yesterday, they woke me up to see if I was alive! Said I hadn't moved in 2 days, was laying in exact same position. Actually, I had been up and down a bunch, fetching icy cold water for my head rag. I guess I just kept collapsing on the bed in the exact same position.

I feel 100% better now, just very weak, but the fever is all gone. Whew! Any crash landing you can walk away from, is a good one. I am still growing new skin on my knees, from my last crash landing, I never knew it took so long to grow new skin! Fish scales would be easier...but mermaids lose their tail temporarily, once they get too far from the water.

Now the mosquitos are out in full force but now and then the fogger trucks show up and stink up the place. I've looked all over my yard for water catchment and can't find any, so not sure why we are having a problem with them.

I ran into a lady wearing this Bugband wristband mosquito repellent and she said it worked perfectly, she had not been bitten once since buying it and the band lasts about 120 hours. Being that she flies down here almost every month (what a life!) she knows what she is talking about. You can seal it up between uses, to make the life of it last longer. What a cool invention! Works on pets and babies too.

Well, I am going to crawl out into the sunshine and just lay there and smile at the sky!

The Color of Caribbean Blues, click for picture.

Warm and Super Sunny Sunday Regards,DearMissMermaid.com

From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Sat, 30 May 2009 18:28:12 EDT
Blue sky and sunshine, simply astounding! Loads of people will be out and about in the BVI today, sunshine has been such a rare commodity this past month. No one can remember a month this gloomy ever before.

Of course my internet is on the fritz again, so no telling when or if I get this out today. I have work to do, so that is why it is hanging up on me again.

So far the internet this morning moves at the pace of a well fed donkey looking for a place to nap.

Well so much for early morning reports......

Internet was down all day, just came back in my area. It's already 6pm here

I've already burned the toaster up today. Put in two frozen corn tortillas to crsipen them for lunch. I do this all the time without any trouble. I even cleaned out the toaster before I heated the tortillas. I did tap the toaster with my hand a few times, while it was upside down over the sink to get out old crumbs and such. Maybe I kncoked something out of place. I tapped lightlyt was all. I plug it in, pop in two corn tortillas and maybe five to ten seconds later, it's shooting up 2 foot flames! Good grief. I guess the toaster isn't all metal. Even stranger, as it melted part of the top. Needless to say, it ruined my tortillas and stunk up the place and sent the kitties scurrying outdoors.

I tried to smother it with a towel, but it had been decorated and the glue that held the glitter (it was a New Year's gift with glitter and stuff glued on it) well it seemed to catch on fire, so I gave up on that, put the towel out and I did manage to yank the cord out of the wall socket, and move the offending toaster and it's flames, to the top of the metal washing machine, so it wouldn't catch the counter on fire, but it burned a few more minutes while I watched it in horror.

First the refrigerator cord caught on fire a while back, well actually it's done that twice now. We finally moved the fridge to a place where we don't have run an extra cord. I paid a bloody fortune for that appliance cord extension, big heavy duty thing, that is just money out the window after a few months and it sets on fire. Then the microwave caught fire one day when they flipped the power back on after a lengthy outage and now the toaster.

Last weekend my upstairs neighbor had no power while I had plenty. I ran them my 100 foot cord and six plug strip so they could have some lights and fans while waiting on BVI Elec-tricky to come figure it out, as it was, seven of us armed with flashlights and tools couldn't get it going again.

I offered up my generator too, but since my cord came in handy, they didn't need it.

But a friend called that night and wanted to rent the generator and cords, for his party in a remote location, the next day, to run the DJ system. I don't normally rent out my generator, but what the heck. So I banged out some basic instructions and printed them out, numbered the sequence for starting the generator, plastered my name and phone number on it then had him sign a paper he would return it running fine or buy it outright for X dollars. Didn't charge him rent, since it was his birthday. When he came over I showed him all the bells and whistles and lights and had him fire it up, so he would be familiar with the starting and stopping sequence. Begged him not to let anyone work on it, if it fouled up, to call me right away, I would come running. I couldn't make it to the party, due to prior engagements.

He returned all in good working order minus the gas. Said it purred so silently folks kept asking him what was powering the music. He said the DJ wanted to buy it but didn't have the funds, so funny. I don't want to sell it. It's so cute and handy. Of course since I repaired it, BVI elec-tricky seems to be behaving a heck of a lot better.

Weather should be wonderful for a few brief days! Everyone is out and about in the sunshine. Yippee!

Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid
Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.com

- Rumbling, Grumbling, Mumbling
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Fri, 29 May 2009 17:13:06 EDT
Thunder and lightning! OH MY! Long rumbling, grumbling, mumbling, thunder.

Dark skies, with severely reduced visibility.

- Fried Day and the phone and internet are both fried!
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Fri, 29 May 2009 12:26:08 EDT
Tropical depression one arrives a week early! No threat to us though. Whew! TD one is now near Halifax Scotia and expected to dissipate in the cooler waters.

What worries me is that we have warmer waters here.
Ooops. Internet is down again. (Nothing new there!)

Interesting that Honduras got the earthquake and not us. Just Tuesday, we noted how the low tide was super low. No one could recall ever seeing it so low! We began talking about earthquakes and tsunamis. Many people around here are afraid of tsunamis. So a few dashed from the conversation and headed for the hills.

The reclaimed land around Tortola would probably liquefy and that's where many of the government buildings are built. Wouldn't that be hilarious, if a tsunami wiped out our over sized government.

The sun is fighting mightily today to play peek a boo! Winds are slight and temps have soared to 84 degrees. SUMMER IS HERE already!

Whenever the internet decides to make a cameo appearance, I will try to sip this out to cyber world! Um, slip not sip! Good grief.

This fever making me crazy mon! I dropped and broke my thermometer, so now I can't fret over my temperature. Oh well. I'm going back to bed with an icy cold washcloth.

Got up from my nap, made some chicken cup of soup, used double strength and man that stuff was really tasty and made me feel 10 times better. Well sort of, I can breath now, but I am dead tired.

Mo' later!

Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid
Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.com

- Thursday
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Fri, 29 May 2009 06:41:04 EDT
Cloudy again, chance of scattered brief showers. I sound like a broken CD, repeating myself over and over.

Click for full size of this hilarious sign on Tortola.

Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid
Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.com

- weird weather!
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Wed, 27 May 2009 15:16:04 EDT
No hurricanes here, but off of North Carolina is a disturbance that could briefly do something before losing strength in colder waters. Hurricane season doesn't officially start until next Monday. Yikes!

Warm and humid here. I have a fever anyhow, so it doesn't matter to me *giggle*. I guess I picked up a bug, and in May of all things!

Still overcast today and I just find the weather for the month of May totally flabbergasting. We've had about a half day of pure sunshine in May and rest of time this weird overcast.

Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid
Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.com

- Gloomy Skies, but nice temperatures!
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Tue, 26 May 2009 06:49:02 EDT
We must be beating all the odds here. May has almost been entirely overcast the entire month! We could get a bad reputation from this. I met some new friends who have only lived here since October. At the end of April, they watched as the snow birds all packed up and left. Then the weather turned totally gloomy! They thought, well, no wonder a bunch of folks left the end of April!

Incredibly, we can expect more cloudy days this week with occasional quick deluges from the heavens above. Despite the mosquito foggers, the mosquitos are finding spots to breed in. They like pockets of rain water. If you left a bowl outside full of fresh water, within 24 hours, mosquitos would breed in it. So if you leave your pets, a water bowl outsides, it is imperative that you change out the water at least once daily, to prevent mosquitos from setting up housekeeping and baby mosquito nurseries in them.

I've been writing here about 10 years, and nothing like this has ever happened in May. The rains have mostly ceased back to occasional drool from the sky, nothing much at all, but just this incredible cloud cover that seems to plague us daily lately.

I couldn't post on Sunday (no internet) and today, Monday, I've had scant internet coverage, and can't seem to post either. Grrrrrrr... Ooops, it's now Tuesday and I better hurry up and post before the internet crashes again. I get frustrated when I report the internet is down, the operator often demands to know my name, password and so on. It's not me that it is me that is messed up, it's their system! I don't why they bother with passwords, if you're supposed to give it out to every operator that asks for it. Sheesh.

The internet will work fine for a few minutes, then POOF, it slowly dies, pages load super slow and then not at all and then sudden death. When I bring up the Windows Task manager on Windows XP, it shows my internet connection has flat-lined. Oh well. Life in paradise!

Saturday I did finally make it to Foxy's Wooden Boat Regatta and it was great fun. Got to see a few fabulous wooden yachts (a dying breed!) and of course Foxy himself, was in full form, cutting up, telling jokes, smiling for endless camera poses. Whoever said Lady Di was the most photographed woman in the world, never met Foxy. I believe he is the most photographed person in the world.

In the hour or so we sat and chatted mid-morning, I think his picture was snapped 40+ times and this was before lunch!

His newest grand baby, barely walking, was in his birthday suit, frolicking in the ocean's edge, totally unafraid of the ocean, as he rolled around with the shore side waves and giggled under his mother's watchful eye. What a life for a baby.

Jost Van Dyke still boasts a casual seaside venue, with public hammocks and tire swings hanging from the trees. It had been awhile since I had been there, and I was greeted with many hugs and inquiries as to my where abouts and my boat.

Ah, the boat. I miss my boat! The residents of Jost Van Dyke watched me for years, hang out in their harbor, reading how-to refit boat books and rebuilding my boat. It was an unusual t'ing for a single female to do in her past time, so I met and made, many curious friends and resident of Jost Van Dyke. Ah, those were the GOOD old days!

Amazon has informed me if I sell 73 more books before May 31st, I will earn a 7% bonus! WOW! So if 73 folks out there in cyber world haven't read my book yet *tee hee hee* it's fun reading and makes a great gift. I am working on 3 more books, but can't give you a publish date yet. But, soon come, mon!

The steel hulled committee boat for the Wooden Boat Regatta.
Click here to enlarge.
Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.com

From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Sat, 23 May 2009 09:31:37 EDT

Fickle weather! Gone to the regatta at Foxys. If you are at the Music Festival in Cane Garden Bay, my book is on sale at Myetts gift shop which is named "Olivias Corner Store".

For you Americans, it's Memorial Day Weekend, ENJOY!

Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.com

- Fried Day
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Fri, 22 May 2009 08:25:59 EDT

Peek a boo sunshine and scattered clouds. Summer is on the way with 82 degrees at 8am. Since all the rains, the mosquitos are on the loose. There are some wonderful alternative mosquito repellents available on the market now including bath soap and moisturizing lotions. Theweekend should be BEAUTIFUL for the regatta at Foxys on jost van Dyke and for the Music Fest at Cane Garden Bay. Me thinks we should have more music more often in the islands. Of course Foxys has lined up loads of music for the weekend events on Jost Van Dyke (Goats van Dyke? Jost van Yikes?)

The islands are emerald green, so we be even more beautiful and charming now.

Government Signs Contract For Architectural Design Of Police StationSKNVibes.com - Basseterre,St. Kitts and NevisBVI Wednesday, May 20 – Government has signed a contract worth $940515 for the architectural design of the Road Town Police Station. ...

Nearly a million dollars to design a police station?


How about signing a contract to build a better fence at the prison where the prisoners keep cutting it repeatedly in broad daylight and escaping... I still want to know, how do you "quietly" cut a fence designed to hold prisoners inside. Seems like it would have been a noisy affair, to hacksaw that thing big enough to slip right through it, at one in the afternoon.

Organizers Promise to Pull Off the Biggest Music Festival EverPlatinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin Islands“It brings in a lot of resources to the BVI and it is needed in these economic times…we are also seeing flights pouring in already.” Blyden pointed out that ...
This Date in History « Washington KaleidoscopeBy Kilroy May 20, 1759: William Thornton was born at Jost van Dyke, West Indies. The British-born American architect, inventor, and public official, is best known as the creator of the original design for the Capitol at Washington, ...
Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.com

- Specials in Hard Times...
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Thu, 21 May 2009 12:16:04 EDT
Thursday already and it's a tad humid and not much winds, still overcast and bluish gray outside. Temps have soared to 82 degrees at sea level, waters are warm for swimming. Winds are slight at 5-10 knots and we are going to need more than that to push these wooden boats around this weekend at Foxys Wooden Boat Regatta. Scattered showers are moving across the area, so you could have the sky briefly drool upon you today, at some point. We should get stronger winds this weekend in time for the regatta and just the usual passing showers to slobber on you now and then.

For those of you going to Jost Van Dyke this weekend, my book "Hurricanes & Hangovers" will be on sale at Jost Van Dyke Scuba in Great Harbor, just down the beach from Foxys. As a Wooden Boat Regatta Special, it's on sale for ONLY $15 this weekend only! So I hope you will take this opportunity to save yourself a few dollars and get some great laughs (and help support a struggling Mermaid!).

I just love the quintessential island ambiance of the
Jost Van Dyke Scuba Shop

Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid
Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.com

- (no subject)
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Wed, 20 May 2009 14:35:35 EDT
Overcast but not rainy. 79 degrees at 2pm, had a rough day yesterday and rough morning today, I feel like I was thrown under the bus!

Should cheer up for the weekend! Let's hope so, loads of events going on everywhere. The Music Fest, the Wooden Boat Regatta at Foxys and so on.

Found a new webcam! The Road Town roundabout, check it out.

Flea Market
Sunday 24th May Noon till 6PM
Cruzin' Bar & Grille Carrot Bay
(RAIN DATE Sunday 31 May)
No Fleas BUT lots of tings for sale including new & used household items, art work, local arts & crafts, etc.
If you have new or used items to sell or donate BRING THEM DOWN !
We are proud sponsors of the
and the Carrot Bay Community
Lots of great food & drinks served all day
Our Famous hand made fresh PIZZA !
Cracked Conch & Daily specials !
More info 446 6201

Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.com

- Museums, Art, what next?
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Tue, 19 May 2009 06:21:21 EDT
Cloudy and overcast and humid. Temps from 72-81. Might be cloudy all week again with a bright weekend!

Finally caught a picture of the wall on Zion Hill Road. It's very hard to photograph without getting killed. Trucks come around the hairpin blind curve without honking and take over your lane. Stopping to take a picture, is risking your life, as there is no where to pull over. But somehow I snapped this picture on the fly and it came out pretty good, must see the full size to really appreciate.

I'm dashing off to town in the overcast, to do things I don't want to do, but have to be done. Life ain't purdy all the time, but I love the beautiful drive to town, in spite of the fact they added five more speed bumps to my drive, which adds 10-15 more minutes to my drive and gobbles more gas. Oh well. Maybe I will get some fresh pictures today!

For LARGE version of this Wall on Zion Hill, Tortola,
Click here.

Address by Hon. Andrew Fahie - International Museum DayPlatinum News Online - Tortola,British Virgin IslandsYou can also step back in time, as far back as 1780 at the Lower Estate Sugar Works museum located at John's Hole, Tortola. Our administrative history is ...

Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid
Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.com

- YIKES! Monday madness already
From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Mon, 18 May 2009 10:04:35 EDT
Well, I blew it! Wrote a LONG story about funny boat names and the weather and POOF it vanished. Where I know knot. I feel like crying. It's just like the ship that ran aground. She was ship out of luck.

Well, Ship happens! Let's get this ship together...and go to Foxys Wooden Boat Regatta this weekend! Also coming up is the Cane Garden Bay Music Fest. Most of the hotels and guest houses are booked solid! I know because friends of mine were frantically calling around looking for rooms. Well, THAT's a good thing to hear. We need to be busy for a change.

Hello? Government? Maybe we should let MORE musicians in year round, since they are such a draw for tourism.

Anyhow, it's cloudy again today, like the past two Mondays. We can expect more rains and more clouds, oh boy! Won't that be fun. 81 degrees as usual.

Then there is the possibility we could have a hurricane BEFORE hurricane season even starts!

Max send me this info, and like a good pirate I am going to reproduce it here since the jumby mon ate my email already....

May what? Oh, the 18th and guess what? A nasty system has crossed Jamaica, eastern Cuba and Haiti dumping excessive rains with some winds of notice but ... some suggest, me to, that this little undefined system is going to make a turn to the northwest and head to the Gulf with some recognizable characteristic such as cyclone like counterclockwise rotation within the next 48 hours! Grrr (This is a very good time for Ham operators to check systems and ensure network operations)

Rather then try to recreate the written word, below is the Blog of Dr. Jeff Master's, Weatherunderground.com . May 18, 2009.

Let this serve as a BIG HEADS UP for the Turks, Bahamas, and Florida ... Grrr There is no doubt in my mind that all of you have prepared for this years gurricane season and have done all there is to do? Yea Right!!!!!!! Remember, and you will hear it often from me, it doesn't have to be a gurricane to kill you! Be safe out there and always keep an eye to weather. Max

Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog

Last Updated: 4:49 PM GMT on May 17, 2009 — Last Comment: 6:35 AM GMT on May 18, 2009
Gathering extratropical storm set to drench Florida, Cuba, and the Bahamas

Posted by: JeffMasters, 3:11 PM GMT on May 17, 2009
A concentrated area of heavy thunderstorms has developed near Jamaica and eastern Cuba, in association with a mid- to upper-level trough of low pressure. The latest 00Z and 06Z runs of the GFS, UKMET, NOGAPS, and ECMWF global dynamical computer models continue to forecast that this disturbance will develop into an extratropical low by Tuesday. The low should bring heavy rain and possible flooding problems to Cuba, Florida, and the Bahamas this week as it lifts northwestward over Florida. Up to eight inches of rain may fall over Florida by Friday (Figure 2), thanks also to a cold front expected to move over the state over the next two days. At present, it appears wind shear will be too high to allow the extratropical storm developing over Cuba to transition into a subtropical or tropical storm. However, if the center emerges into the northern Gulf of Mexico late this week, wind shear may be low enough to allow a transition to a subtropical storm (10% chance).Figure 1. Latest IR satellite image of the Atlantic, showing the gathering extratropical storm near the eastern tip of Cuba, and the cut-off low spinning in the mid-Atlantic.Figure 2. Forecast precipitation amount between 8am EDT Sunday 5/17/09 and 8am EDT Friday 5/22/09. Image credit: NOAA/HPC.There has been little change to the large upper-level cold low spinning in the mid-Atlantic a few hundred miles east of Bermuda. The low may spin in place long enough over the next week to develop a warm core and be classified as a subtropical storm. It is unlikely that a subtropical storm forming that far out in the Atlantic this early in the year would pose a threat to any land areas, with the possible exception of Bermuda.Climatology of early-season Atlantic tropical cyclonesTropical storms are uncommon in the Atlantic before June 1, with only 26 named storms on record between 1851 - 2008. Five of these have made it to hurricane strength, and only one--Hurricane Able of 1951--made it to major hurricane status. Last year's Tropical Storm Arthur may be the deadliest May tropical cyclone on record. Though only a 40 mph tropical storm at landfall, Arthur killed five people in Belize and caused $78 million in damage. Three early-season storms have brought hurricane-force winds to land. The March 1908 hurricane swept through the northern Lesser Antilles Islands as a Category 1 or 2 hurricane, destroying at least 24 boats and causing damage to buildings on St. Bartholomew. Hurricane Able of 1951 brought sustained winds of 90 - 95 mph to the northern Bahama Islands, but caused little damage. Hurricane 2 of May 1908 hit North Carolina's Outer Banks as a Category 1 hurricane, but also caused little damage.List of all early season (formed in January - May) Atlantic named stormsMay 31, 2008: Tropical Storm ArthurMay 6, 2007: Subtropical Storm AndreaApril 18, 2003: Tropical Storm AnaApril 21, 1992: Subtropical Storm 1May 6, 1981: Tropical Storm ArleneJanuary 18, 1978: Subtropical Storm 1May 21, 1976: Subtropical Storm 1May 23, 1972: Subtropical Storm AlphaMay 17, 1970: Hurricane Alma (Category 1)May 28, 1959: Tropical Storm ArleneFebruary 2, 1953: Tropical Storm AliceMay 25, 1952: Tropical Storm 1May 15, 1951: Hurricane Able (Category 3)May 22, 1948: Tropical Storm 1May 19, 1940: Tropical Storm 1May 27, 1934: Tropical Storm 1May 14, 1933: Tropical Storm 1May 5, 1932: Tropical Storm 1May 13, 1916: Tropical Storm 1May 24, 1908: Hurricane 2 (Category 1)March 6, 1908: Hurricane 1 (Category 2)May 27, 1890: Tropical Storm 1May 16, 1889: Hurricane 1 (Category 1)May 17, 1887: Tropical Storm 2May 15, 1887: Tropical Storm 1May 30, 1865: Tropical Storm 1

Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid
Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.com

From: DearMissMermaid at aol.com
Date: Sat, 16 May 2009 10:56:25 EDT
The sun is out, the sun is out! Sure there are patchy clouds around, but nothing dark and malefic yet. Yesterday, the morning was gorgeous, bright and sunshiny. But by afternoon, when I stopped in at Nanny Cay to see a friend, a cool wind blew past, then the heavens opened up and the skies poured down barrels of fresh rain water. At the time, I was thrilled, as it cooled me right down. I had become super overheated at the Labour Department and was still simmering.

My crystal ball predicts an astonishing weekend with abundant sunshine and only occasional rains. Monday may thrust us back into rainy cloudy days. In the meantime, get out in the sunshine and get your Vitamin D and metabolism pumping. It's a great weekend for the outdoors and here in the islands, we love being outdoors as mush as possible.

I showed up at the Labour Department, Friday, with my paperwork filled out identical to last year's paperwork. I have to renew my slave permit card. Ooops, I mean my work permit card. The clerk determined I had done it all wrong, so she gave me triplicate copies to hand fill out again, without benefit of carbon paper. I thought carbon paper went by the wayside when copiers came along. (Copiers have been out 50 years now, since 1959. Someone should tell Labour about these *new* inventions!)

Labour has computers, but they use them to create work, not save time and motion. Hence my papers have to be handfilled out in triplicate all over again. I also had to submit my passport picture. The clerk stapled it, right through the nose, onto the paperwork. Later they will take a picture of me with their own camera. I have no idea, why I have to buy pics, submit them, then later when my paperwork is ready, Labour uses their own camera to take another picture and charge me $75 for it to be laminated on a slave permit wallet sized card. Ooops! Excuse me! I meant a work permit card! (Is that because the one with the big staple through my nose is no longer useful?)

The air conditioning is still broke in Labour. It's been that was for years. The windows don't open. No wonder there was a crowd of people in the parking lot, hovering around the doors, rapidly speaking Spanish. I wondered if I was the only English speaking person in the office that day. I checked their chaotic schedule, that shows what they do on which days, that they are open 6 hours and 15 minutes. No, it wasn't Spanish day, just that I never heard any English spoken while I filled out my forms, except from the clerk, who spoke fluent English.

There is NO place to fill out paperwork (that would be way too convenient). So I was using my old leather portfolio, propped up on a chair arm, twisted sideways in my seat while trying to fill out these papers. I guess I should have brought my clipboard with me. It was so murderously hot, that big globs of sweat dripped from my forehead, all over my papers. I had left my purse locked up in my car, just bringing in the portfolio of papers I thought I needed. I had nothing to mop up with, but my hand. I was sure there were a few errant cocktail napkins stashed in my purse, but my car was a half mile or more away. There is never parking at Labour. I think that lot is full 24 hours a day. Many cars were parked in the aisles, blocking in other cars. The only open spots were marked "reserved for government officials". Why are the reserved for government officials parking spots always empty? They should have to fight for parking, just like us riffraff.

Finally I stood in line to turn my new papers back in again. The clerk explained to the lady in front of me what she had to do. The lady looked bewildered and stood there saying nothing, so a man jumped up and briskly interpreted the conversation into Spanish. Finally it was my turn again. The clerk looked at my papers with wet splotches on them, and asked them if I got them wet in the rain (it was still bone dry outside). I said "No, that is my sweat, I am just burning up!" She replied by telling me how she thought she had the flu because the clerk who worked at her desk the last few days had stayed home with the flu and she probably got it from the germs on the desk. I looked around at the 80 or so people milling about inside and out and wondered if we would all have the flu next week.

I left and found the public restroom, which had no soap, but I scrubbed my hands, arms, elbows anyhow, and rinsed the sweat off my face. As I walked back to my car, about 6 blocks away, which ironically was blocking half of a parking lot entrance, I chanted over and over "I shall not get the flu, I shall not get the flu, I shall not get the flu." A few miles out of town, when I stopped at Nanny Cay, they had soap, so I scrubbed up all over again, wishing and washing away any and all germs. I think I've already had the flu twice in the last year, surely I can't get round three!

Friday morning, I jumped up at 730am, running around like a lightning, trying to get a long list of things done before I headed for town at 9am to have breakfast with a departing friend. I was sleepy and yawning, making my espresso extra strong. I was frantically searching for papers that didn't seem to exist. This lead to me spreading out files all over creation, wondering why I thought I was so well organized when I couldn't lay my hands on a piece of paper I had last seen in October. I must have been half asleep, as the papers turned up, right where they were supposed to be, but I had passed over them twice. *sigh*

Yawning again, thinking, WOW, I am really VERY tired, I noticed my wall clock in the office said it was 630, yet I had been up nearly an hour all ready. I went back to my bedroom, where the little travel clock still said 730. I guess that t'ing mash up.

My mind must be going.

Where I don't know.

Last night I kept waking up and consulting my 730 clock. I am trying to figure out how long I sleep at night. Apparently, I always sleep until 730.

Matter of fact, when I moved into my apartment, it came with 3 hideously ugly wall clocks. None of them worked. The batteries had long since corroded inside of them, and new batteries did nothing to coax them back to life. I threw them in the garbage, after taking pictures of them, in case the landlord ever asked what happened to his collection of ugly broken clocks. I am sure each one sold for at least $10 at some point in their life.

Recently another friend of mine was in a car wreck and ended up with this rental car. It's a tiny little thing, so small that our elbows were bumping until I managed to put my arm behind her seat, a bit awkward, but it kept our elbows from smashing together as she drove. I joked with her about the anemic toy car and wondered why this thing was even allowed on the island.

We went to lunch, then she drove me home. I live up on a small gradual hill. It can't be that bad of hill, many of my boating friends walk up the hill from the anchorage below. This little anemic toy car couldn't make it up the hill. It bogged down, coughed, sputtered and refused. My friend and I burst out laughing. She had to reverse down the hill, backup another quarter mile, floor the accelerator and then attempt to fly up the hill.

The little anemic car slowed down and chugged up the hill, choking, gasping and lurching, while a couple on mountain bicycles peddled right past us, up the small incline, giving us strange looks. I asked my friend how on earth she made it home, being that she lives way up on Ridge Road. She replied that she often had to reverse and then get a running start, and sometimes had to do this 2-3 times before she could get home.

Life in the islands.

Bats in the bathtub! Just what I wanted to find at oh dark thirty this morning. A bat in my bath. Did he arrive on his own, or was he placed there by a certain four legged housemate of mine? I'm going to go find my camera and snap his pic before the funeral.

Lifeless Bat in the shower!
(Don't worry, I plan to clean and sterilize the shower before I use it today!)

Bat? What bat?
I'm just *innocently* watching my cartoons on TV!

A few weeks ago, a lady told me she was washing her dishes when she noticed a dead bat was in her wash water! She left home, drove to work, and was frantically making a phone call to somebody, instructing them to go to her house and remove the bat from the sink for her. I could hear the other person laughing hysterically over the phone.

Two other people tell me they stepped outside recently at night and were hit in the head by low flying bats. Good grief. What next?

Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid
Warm and Sunny Regards,DearMissMermaid.com

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